You don’t need an estate plan – said no estate planning attorney ever. Estate plans aren’t about how much money you have, but about making an easy transition of anything you own to the rightful owners when you pass. Practically speaking, an estate plan is about making it easy for your kids, family members, or loved ones to handle your tangible items, bank accounts, 401ks, stocks, bonds, investments, real estate, digital assets, and cars when you pass away. An estate plan is not about you, it’s about who you leave behind. But there is always something holding people back from getting it done. I’m going to try to address one of those “objections” in the hopes of making it an easier hurdle to get over.
Getting your estate plan done is one of those things that you know you should do but you don’t get around to it. It lives rent-free in your head and sucks up your energy but once you get it done, you get your energy back, you get peace of mind, and you can focus on other things. But that hurdle is still a high one to overcome. Usually, the first step is making an appointment but why is that so hard for so many people?
I’ve heard from many people that it’s dealing with your own mortality. Usually, this is for the parents. What will happen to my kids if I’m gone? It’s an ugly thought and there is no perfect answer. However, I can assure you that it will be uglier if you don’t have a plan than if you do. When things are stressful it’s always easier to have a checklist to follow, or clear instructions so that you don’t have to spend time thinking about things. You just follow instructions; you follow the orders laid out. Airline pilots have checklists and procedures they must follow in the event something goes wrong with the plane when in flight. You don’t want a pilot who freaks out when there is a problem. You want a pilot who has a clear head. They train to be levelheaded in an emergency because they have checklists and step-by-step procedures to follow. Same thing with caring for your family. The clearer the instructions you leave for them, the less of a mess it will be when you pass. Your appointed trustee and personal representative will follow your instructions so they can spend their energy grieving and healing.
In my experience, it’s easier to think of who will care for your kids in the next 3-5 years, and not the big forever picture. Focus on who will love your kids the most, and not on little day-to-day things. The guardian you pick for your kid will never be perfect, but you have to pick the best person at that moment. Picking no one opens the door for anyone to petition to become a guardian. It’s always better to get something into a legal document than nothing. You can always change your documents down the road.
When you do a private consultation with our office you are auto-enrolled in our Continuing Client Care program, which gives you free updates to your durable power of attorney, health care proxy, and HIPAA release once a year. You also get discounted updates to your Wills and Trusts (among other benefits). The purpose of doing this is to help clients not get hung up on who they name in their documents. They know they can always update them in the future. If you are ready to tackle getting your estate plan done and protecting your assets and your family you can contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 508.532.8689. Think about how much better you will feel once you get it done!
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Ladimer Law specializes in estate planning. We protect our clients, their heirs, and their assets by listening closely, knowing the law, and executing estate plans that fit and evolve.