Among the first questions we ask people during our first meeting is “have you done any estate planning?” The response is usually “I/we have a will.” Sometimes we hear “we don’t need that” or “our situation isn’t that complicated.” The fact is that the failure to create and maintain a solid estate plan will make virtually anyone’s estate complicated. Our experience is that if you dislike your family, you should get sick or die without thoughtful planning.
Estate planning is more than a will. Planning includes making provisions for you and your family through life and health insurance. It involves the accumulation and preservation of assets for retirement or ill health. Few of us want what we have accumulated to be wasted, so planning means making sure that our assets are handled in the most efficient way possible, both before and after death. Since wills do nothing for us while we are still living, good estate planning includes provisions we make for ourselves during our own lifetimes. Should we become unable to manage our affairs, we should carefully consider who will step in for us and what we want them to do. This may not be the same person for our financial affairs as it is for our medical decisions.
If we want to have an effective plan that does not burden our loved ones, clear communication with those to whom we are delegating responsibilities is invaluable. Often, beneficiaries fight because they have different ideas of what Mom or Dad wanted. We need to tell them and teach them.
So, who should have an estate plan?
- Anyone who has assets of any kind.
- Anyone who has a family.
- Anyone who owns a pet.
- Anyone who does not want to have strangers care for them if they become incapacitated.
- Anyone who is sufficiently competent to develop a plan and execute legal documents.
- Pretty much anyone.
We are not attorneys and do not practice law. We are also not insurance agents and do not sell insurance. Always seek competent legal advice before taking any action. We are planners dedicated to helping you develop, implement, and maintain a financial plan that is unique to your goals and dreams. We are happy to work with you and your attorney to so that your plan works for you.