When we think of the eagle, we think of strength, courage, and freedom. So, you may be wondering what in the world eagles have to do with something like estate planning. Surprisingly, we can learn a lot of important lessons from eagles about what it means to grow and protect one’s nest.

#1 Building the nest

Male and female eagles build their nest together, with both bringing supplies to contribute to the nest structure. Just as building a sturdy nest requires teamwork and dedication from both partners, estate planning also takes two.

Married individuals, as well as those unmarried individuals in committed relationships, share a joint effort toward growth and stability. Estate planning is an extension of this aim, as it is a way of protecting assets, possessions, and medical preferences. Therefore, regardless of whether one partner has few assets or does not own property, both partners can share in the responsibility.

#2 Supporting the nest

Eagles build their nests at the very top of the tallest tree with accessible branches near the top and supportive, forked branches near the trunk. This ensures that the eagles will have a strong, solid base that will allow them to grow their nest as needed. Similarly, a properly executed estate plan can be thought of as the foundation for all of one’s major life events.

Like eagles, individuals need a sturdy foundation to build a plan for success. This foundation includes essential estate planning documents, such as a will, advance medical directive, and power of attorney, that protect one’s assets, medical preferences, and finances against unexpected emergencies. With a concrete plan in place, you no longer have to worry about life’s “what ifs” and can instead spend your time growing your resources.

#3 Revisiting the nest

Eagles return to the same nesting site each year if they successfully produced and raised young there, bringing with them more sticks, twigs and grass to add to the nest. However, if the previous nest was unsuitable, eagles may choose to build a new nest in a different area. Just as eagles revisit their nesting plan annually, individuals must revisit their estate plans to see if it still meets their needs.

Estate plans should always be updated in the event of major life events, such as death, divorce, or new birth. Health and career changes, as well as asset acquisition are also factors that trigger a review. However, even if none of these changes have taken place, one may still find that their values and general preferences have shifted since the creation of their estate plan. Estate plans should be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure that they still reflect one’s current circumstances and values.

So, what did we learn from our nation’s most admired bird?

To recap, eagles can teach us that growing and protecting one’s “nest” requires teamwork, a strong foundation, and frequent assessment of one’s circumstances. Eagles prepare themselves and their offspring for success by building and tending to their nest, and you should too. Not only does an estate plan give you the strength to spread your wings, but it also gives you and your loved ones the freedom to soar.

Information in this article is provided for educational purposes only and not intended to constitute legal advice. Please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction for help with your specific situation.

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the Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC at