One of the things that we know is certain in life is death but so few of us actually plan for it. We received feedback that one of the hurdles is the cost of it. Everyone knows they should have one once they get married, buy a home, have a kid, etc., but it’s always put on the back burner. I get it, it’s an unsexy investment that you will never see to fruition. However, the trust purpose of an estate plan is to protect your family and set them up for a smooth transition, no matter when you pass away. What is expensive varies from town to town, person to person. What is expensive for one person is not for another. But on the flip side, how do you determine the value of protecting your kids and your assets?
For me, the basic principles for an estate plan are to protect your kids, protect your assets from probate, and reduce estate taxes (if applicable). I’m not going to touch on the estate taxes much in this article but it’s much easier math. If I pay for an estate plan now and it costs $X, I’ll be able to save $XX in estate taxes. However, you can’t really do the math when it comes to determining the price for setting them up for an easy transition if the worst were to happen to you.
Again, I do not recommend getting hung up on the mortality of your passing but focus on determining who will love your kids the most, and how are you going to get money to their guardian for your kids’ benefit. We’ve all had that life lesson that things don’t just magically happen, you must go out and make things happen for you. It’s the same with protecting your kids. You need to act now to make sure they will not be subject to a Court battle over who is the best person for them to live with.
And not to make light of this topic, but I was on my Peloton and Cody Rigsby was raving about Beyoncé’s tour this summer and he said, “Do whatever you need to do to get tickets to this show, it’s too amazing to miss” (I did not record his exact words, but it’s the essence of what he said). And I feel the same way about getting an estate plan done. Do what you need to do to get the cash saved up so you can get your plan in place. Having something in place now is always better than waiting. You can always update your documents down the road when your cash flow is more flowing.
If cash flow is super tight, you may be able to utilize legal services in your area. There are legal aid services that will help get the basic documents in place for little or no cost. There are also attorneys who do Pro Bono work in this area. Also, there are attorneys who have payment plan options. There are a variety of ways to get your plan done for a variety of different financial needs. Make some calls, ask your friends, and find out how you can get your plan done because you can’t put a price tag on your children’s wellbeing.
Copyright © 2023 Ladimer Law Office PC
209 West Central Street
Natick, MA 01760
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.