ESTATE PLANNING: Why would you do this in the summer?
The weather is finally warm. It’s time to hit the beaches, go out on the boat, play golf…
Why would you consider estate planning now?
First, it is still on your bucket list. You resolved to get it done this year. You shouldn’t keep putting it off.
Importantly, this is the time that families get together. It’s a good opportunity to talk – parents and children about important issues. You may find that your children want you to get this taken care of. They have heard horror stories from their friends about what happens when you don’t take the time to plan.
Shouldn’t your children know:
• Where your important documents are located?
• Who your financial advisor and attorney are?
• Who you would like to handle your estate when the time comes?
• Who you would like to be your Patient Advocate if you were too sick to speak for yourself? And what you would like to have done for you, or not done for you?
• What type of advance funeral planning have you done? And if none, what is it that you would like for yourself?
• What plan should be made for living arrangements when you cannot live independently anymore?
These are important issues and deserve careful thought and discussion.
Shouldn’t parents know:
• Which items of personal property each of the children would like? And more importantly, what they do not want?
• Whether the children actually want the family home, the family farm, or the family cottage?
• Whether the children are in a position to assist if a parent is too ill to live independently?
While feelings can be bruised when we find that our children don’t value our personal property, the farm, or the cottage, this is important to know ahead of time. This is part of a good plan.
A dialogue will solve more issues than create them. It is the surprises down the road that create friction among children and their parents. Your children may not necessarily agree with your plans, but if they know ahead of time they can learn to live with it. Learning to respect points of view when we don’t agree is an important aspect of being part of a family.
So, when everyone is sitting around enjoying a beverage, or sitting around the campfire, try talking about these issues. You may find that your children are eager and receptive to helping you plan for the future.