Several days ago, my family took advantage of the clear sky to go stargazing. It doesn’t take long to be reminded of our incredibly tiny existence in the universe. For some people they see that place as an excuse for not putting an estate plan in place – after all, they’re not going to be here, so what will they care?
But that is the wrong question. The better question is – will anyone care that you are gone? Will your spouse, your children be left with a legal mess? Will they face taxes, and fees, and attorney bills that could have been easily avoided with very little effort? You may not be around, but will the people who are important to you feel like they were unimportant enough to take care of, or will they appreciate what you’ve done for them?
Estate planning is a great opportunity to prevent future problems. Some problems are well known – like probate – and easily avoided. Some problems are trickier to spot, and may not be easy to solve. Blended families, for example, have their own dynamics that create complex problems which are better sorted out in advance. Items of personal property are often harder to deal with than great sums of money because of the emotional attachment. By sitting down with an attorney and putting these and other problems on the table, they can be identified, and a solution created. Otherwise, you can be leaving a ticking time bomb laying around, waiting to damage family relationships.
Protecting the Future
Beyond avoiding problems, many of the tools we have as estate planning let us provide additional value to beneficiaries. For example, using the Personal Asset Trust, we can provide greater protection for beneficiaries against lawsuits, creditors and even divorcing spouses. Parents with young children will know that any life insurance funds will be able to be used for their children’s needs, and will let them take over the management of the proceeds only after college expenses have been paid. We can ensure that a disabled child is not disqualified from needed assistance and government benefits by receiving an inheritance. These are just a few of the many examples of ways we can provide additional protection to the people you care about the most.
Leaving a Legacy
The character and values you communicate in life – and death are what will leave a lasting impact in the lives of those around us. Our clients care about the people in their lives, and we love helping them eliminate future problems and provide a secure future. You too can finish strong with a well thought out estate plan.