Do I need an Estate Plan?
Often, we think of planning for property in the event of death or incapacity as something of a rich man’s game. It is common to assume that without significant assets, there’s no real reason to deal with facing the reality of our own death, or what our loved ones will do without us.
Here are 7 reasons that you need an estate plan in place even if you are just an average Joe:
Reason #1: You need to protect your kids.
Parenting is a labor of love. You sacrifice time, money, and a lot of hobbies to make sure that your kids learn, grow, and receive the care that you desire. If the unthinkable happens to you during the day, who knows to pick up your kids?
- Who knows the type of care you would desire for them in the long run?
- Which family members do you want to take care of them?
- Which do you NOT want taking care of them?
- Who is going to make sure they go to school?
- What kind of values do you want them to have?
- Some folks want their kids to go to college, others want them to experience the world, others want to make sure they don’t miss out on anything.
If you are divorced, this particular issue is even more important.
- How good is your relationship with your ex spouse?
- How comfortable are you with them being in control of your assets for the care of your children?
- What if something happens to your ex-spouse as well?
What do you have in place to make sure these things happen?
Reason# 2: You need someone to take care of things if you survive, but are incapacitated.
A good estate plan handles the issues of your incapacity as well. What if you don’t die in a horrible car accident but no longer have the mental ability to make decisions? Who will take care of your property? Who will make sure the bills get paid? Who will make the medical decisions? Do your family members all agree with you about those issues?
Often, clients express the desire to have different family members over medical decisions than financial decisions. An estate plan lets you choose according to the varying compassion or technical abilities of family members.
Reason #3: Your Loved Ones Need the Authority
The truth is you don’t have to leave a plan. There are methods to distribute property according to the laws set by the State of Texas. There are also methods on how to make decisions about your medical care. The real issue is that all these processes and laws bring the court system and government into your family. The processes can add complication that otherwise would not be there into an already stressful situations.
Reason #4: Communicate Your Wishes
The plain truth is no one will know what to do with you or your things if you don’t tell them what you want. We learn to communicate our desires from the moment we are a baby. We also know that if we don’t constantly reinforce our desires, we have little hope of getting what we want from this world.
The same is true in death, only, you won’t be around to tell everybody. Unless you get to come back from the grave and haunt everyone, an estate plan is your best way to communicate your desires should the unthinkable happen.
A good estate plan allows you to leave George the house who really needs it, but leave some cash to Cathy for the kids’ college. It allows you to make that last gift of your property to the people or causes that matter most to you.
Reason #5: Eliminate unnecessary stress from an already devastating situation
If the unthinkable happens, your loved ones will be dealing with a myriad of issues on top of the enormous task of dealing with the grief over you. If something happened to you and your spouse, who picks up the kids? Takes them to practices? Does the grocery shopping? Pays the bills? Cooks the food? Takes care of the pets? At the end of days like this, very few folks have the desire to deal with lawyers and probate courts.
When your estate plan is in place, it will be able to provide the smoothest possible transition of your property and authority to the people you trust. At our law firm, we also add a guide for your family members on how to handle some of the other stresses as well.
Reason #6: You Should Let Your Loved Ones Know How You Feel
You tell your family you love them all the time. If you do one thing today, it should probably be just that, tell your family you love them. While an estate plan should never be the first time you let your family know how much you care, but it will be your last opportunity.
- What would you say to your family if you knew today was your last day?
- What would you want your kids to know about you?
- What is it about them that you were most proud of?
- What was the most important thing to you?
For me personally, I scour everything I can find that belonged to my father. I wonder what he might have said to me if he had the chance before his death. That’s why every plan I do comes with a complimentary interview where clients are able to leave an audio or video of them detailing the answers to things that matter the most. Because an estate plan is your best chance to leave a lasting memory to your loved ones.
Reason #7: An Estate Plan Won’t Be the Most Expensive Thing You Pay For This Year
How much money do you spend on health insurance? How much did you spend on your couch? How much do you spend on your cars? The cost of an effective estate plan doesn’t have to be an arm and a leg. When compared to the value of the seven reasons above, I believe most see it as a valuable part of their legacy in this world. If you need an estate plan, call us at The Malolo Law Firm, PLLC, today.
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- Posted by Charlie Malolo
- On August 1, 2016