Many individuals do not prepare an estate plan because they think the cost is too high. But is it?
We buy health insurance and yet some of us seldom get sick and never use the benefits.
We buy homeowners insurance and never have a claim – we never have a fire, flood or accident.
We buy automobile insurance and we are never in an accident.
So why do we spend this money? To cover ourselves and our families for the “what ifs” in life.
What if we got very ill and couldn’t afford the surgery and hospitalization? What if our home burned in a fire and we couldn’t replace it? What if we were in an automobile accident and the car was severely damaged? The insurance that we purchase is to protect us financially against the catastrophe.
And so it is with estate planning as well. If you draft a Will or a Trust, it is not a matter of whether you will pass away, but a question of when. It could be tomorrow or fifty years from now. This will be a time of anxiety, sadness and confusion for your family. Will you have taken the steps to make the legal and financial issues more or less difficult? Will your family find your affairs in order? Or will they find confusion and ambiguity? Will they have the clear direction that they need to carry out your wishes? Or will they be left wondering, or perhaps arguing over the distribution of your estate?
If you execute a Durable Power of Attorney, it protects you in the event that you are seriously disabled and unable to attend to your business, financial and legal matters. Will you have taken the steps to provide for another to step in and handle these matters on your behalf at a time of stress to your family? Or will your family be confronted with an unnecessary, costly and time consuming legal proceeding?
If you execute a Patient Advocate Designation, it protects you in the event of a catastrophic illness so that you have individuals in place to direct your care. Will you have taken the right steps to provide for an advocate who knows your wishes and can step in and guide your medical care in accordance with your wishes? Or will your loved ones need to file legal proceedings to be allowed to assist you – left wondering what you really wanted?
Estate Planning is no different than insurance. You are protecting yourself and your family from the “what ifs” in life. Don’t leave your family wondering; don’t your affairs disorganized. Get your affairs in order – estate plan. It’s a bargain.