Ah… the end of a year and beginning of a new year. It’s a traditional time to take stock and set priorities and goals. There are plenty of checklists to give you pause and cause you concern, so we don’t want to add to that. But we want you to consider a long-postponed item that you should put to the front of your lists. It’s interesting how much effort goes into planning a vacation or an important party or other activity, and how little thought we give to one of the most important things we can do to give ourselves, and our family, peace of mind. Without proper planning, your death can be a disaster to your loved ones. Maybe you have heard some of these horror stories.

True Tales
Two individuals with children from prior relationships marry late in life. One spouse dies, leaving his/her retirement plan to the new spouse with verbal instructions that the survivor should leave whatever is left in the retirement account to his/her children. The survivor finds a new several years later. The new loves boats, has expensive hobbies and figures if they have it, they should enjoy a more lavish lifestyle with the newly acquired wealth. So they spend several years satisfying the new spouse’ dreams. Pretty soon its gone. Not long thereafter, the new spouse leaves looking for a new wealthy widow/widower to marry. Suddenly the survivor finds themselves without a safety net of assets and there is no inheritance for the deceased spouse’ children . . . All of the pain is avoidable with a good plan!

Add years to your life

Many people have a phobia about estate planning. Nobody wants to think about their own death. My own father refused to come in and sign his Will before his untimely death. He was lucky to have an estate lawyer in the family. For many, proper estate planning somehow implies their death is imminent. Well, it is. But beginning with a basic estate planning checklist, and following through with it…can alleviate anxiety and make all the difference in ensuring your hard-earned assets end up where you intend — and you get the added bonus of having your family love and appreciate you even more because you didn’t ignore this important task.
Although this takes some time, and a little money, the peace of mind will more than outweigh the time and trouble, and it is often less costly than you think. Take a moment and set a goal to consider the following important estate documents with a good estate planning attorney (not your divorce or bankruptcy or personal injury lawyer). Our clients have repeatedly told us that when they are done, it is highly liberating, as long as it is done properly and with good advice from a qualified estate planning attorney.

  • Basic Estate Planning Documents
  • Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Healthcare Directives to Physicians
  • Trust (consider a Family Trust under your circumstances)
  • Life Insurance
  • 401(k) Plans and IRA’s
  • Guardians for Minor Children
  • Trusts for Minor Children and Young Adults
  • Beneficiary Designations for Life Insurance, Pension, 401(k), IRA and HSA plans
  • Funeral and Burial Plans

Once you have considered each of these items and dealt with them, you can rest easy, knowing that you have left your family in the best circumstances possible. Call now!