Image by M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013
Sick days are in our future, putting both mom and dad on to plan B for the day. Sure, it hasn't happened yet, but it will, and I'm planning for it. And I do the same with my clients. That is what estate planning is, at least to me. It is not something reserved for the upper crust of society. One does not need a second home to require an estate plan. One only need to be age 18 or older. Why? Estate planning is planning for illness, death and taxes. Things none of us will escape. And without the proper papers in place courts will make decisions, and those may not mirror ones you would have made. Without a plan, what will happen? Something will, but will that something be ideal, optimal, just? Take control and put your wishes on paper, that's an estate plan.
And it means facing the worst. Sure you want everything to go to your spouse or partner. But what if they don't survive you. Car accidents can claim more than one life. Then on to your children, but what if they were in the car? We are getting into the land of statistically improbable, but these can and do happen. Planning for the worst.....it's not fun, but at least you are prepared.
I'll leave you with a few action steps to get the process started:
- Determine what if any estate planning paperwork you might have in place:
- beneficiary forms on life insurance or retirement
- PODs or TODs on banking and or brokerage accounts
- multiple names on deeds to real estate