The Ants and the Grasshopper is among Aesop’s most well-known and controversial fables. Writers and philosophers across history have retold, reframed, and debated the moral of the story. Is the grasshopper a bon vivant who has failed the grasp the value of hard work? Has the duty of charity been lost on the ants? The answer isn’t easy.
The grasshopper is, of course, a musician who has played the summer away while the ants have worked hard to gather grain for the approaching winter. Hungry and helpless, the grasshopper asks for food but is turned away. The ants admonish him for failing to grasp the importance of hard work and tell him to dance the winter away.
Ouch. Yes, the ants are heartless and yet they’re right about one thing: life takes turns and the only person who can protect you, is you. For better or for worse, if the grasshopper had gathered his own grain he wouldn’t be facing a winter without food.
Ok, great, but what does this have to do with estate planning you might ask.
Your estate plan is the grain you need to gather now so that when metaphorical winter arrives, either in the form of injury or death, you’ll be prepared and protected.
An estate plan is a plan you make in advance that serves to protect and manage your assets should you suffer incapacitation or die. It includes such things as the medical treatment you wish to receive if you become gravely injured, how your finances should be managed, who should receive your assets when you pass, how you wish your funeral to be conducted, and whom you will entrust with administrative duties (estate executor, financial power of attorney, etc.).
Essentially, it is a roadmap your loved ones can follow to ease the burden of navigating your loss. When you prepare an estate plan, you relieve yourself and those near you of having to worry about the what-ifs that may carry major financial or interpersonal consequences. Furthermore, you provide an opportunity for you and your family to discuss priorities and concerns related to your estate.
Aesop’s fable doesn’t tell how the grasshopper and the ants each passed the winter but one can make assumptions. While the grasshopper must have struggled frantically, the ants would have been warming their six feet at some underground hearth, relaxing and enjoying the spoils of their labor.
Work hard, play hard. Or, if you’re in our line of work, plan hard, play hard (and be prepared).
To learn more about the importance of having an estate plan for both you and your family, do not hesitate to reach out to the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia either by calling 770-822-2723 or using the contact form on our website.
Aesop’s Fables, The Ants & the Grasshopper:
One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.
“What!” cried the Ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”
“I didn’t have time to store up any food,” whined the Grasshopper; “I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”
The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.
“Making music, were you?” they cried. “Very well; now dance!” And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.
There’s a time for work and a time for play.
Pinkney, J., & Aesop. (2015). The grasshopper & the ants.
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