The number one problem I see with regard to estate planning is that people don’t do it. Why is that?
Many feel that they do not own enough “stuff” to warrant an estate plan. Others cannot make the hard decisions and so they put it off. Some are simply unable to come to terms with their own mortality – they just cannot confront the fact that one day they will not be here anymore. There are those that were raised not to talk about these kind of things.
All of these are normal thoughts that many others just like you have. These are not the reason to put this important planning issue on the back burner any longer. Don’t let these excuses be the reason to put this off any longer.
If you are young with small children, you need at a minimum a Will, Durable Power of Attorney and Patient Advocate Designation. While you may not have very many assets, your Will is the only place that you can nominate the individual that would be the guardian and conservator of your children if you died. While it is not the ordinary course for young parents to both die, it does happen. Don’t leave your children without the protection of a qualified individual to care for them. You are the one that knows best about this. Don’t leave it for a Probate Judge to try to figure out.
While young, you could also become disabled. Without a Durable Power of Attorney and Patient Advocate Designation, your family would have to go to Probate Court to have a Guardian and Conservator appointed for you. In the meantime, your medical care would be guided by doctors and nurses who do not know what your thoughts are about medical treatment. The process is costly – both economically and time-wise. Be prepared. Have these documents completed.
Some couples have difficulty when it comes to dividing up their estate or appointing their agents. This is understandable. If you cannot agree, you can each put down what you want. While this is not ideal, it is better than having no documents at all. If you do not have a Will, your property will be distributed according to the laws of the state you are living in. You may agree with that, or not.
Remember also that these documents can be amended and changed over time. You are not stuck forever with today’s choices. As your opinions change, you can change your documents to reflect your new thinking.
All of us need estate plans. We need to plan for the future – for the good and for the bad. When you have finished this task, you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders as you know that you have taken care of your family for a future in which you are not there.
When do we need to do estate plans? Today. Get it done. Get it off of your bucket list.