Graduations, July 4th Picnics, Lazy Days and exotic vacations are all what make summertime a favorite season to many, including myself. Likewise, additional downtime also makes this an ideal period to tackle those long-time goals.
You know the ones. We all dread doing these things, but as an adult, you realize you must undertake: maintenance on your house, making doctor appointments, and, yes, estate planning.
What is holding YOU back from creating/updating your estate plan?
Over the years, I have compiled a top 5 list of reasons that people provide to not sign a Health Care Proxy “Living Will”, Durable Power of Attorney, Revocable Trust or a Last Will & Testament:
1. I am superstitious and signing these documents will bring me bad luck immediately.
My response: Sorry to skip ahead and tell you the ending of your Book of Life, but it does not end well. Nothing you do will keep you from the inevitable. However, creating your estate documents provides you control in life and after death that you will surrender if you do not address those issues now, while capacitated.
2. What do I care what happens to me and my belongings when I die?
My response: A LOT!!! As the flight attendant always says at the beginning of each trip, make sure to take care of yourself before attending to others. Most elements of estate planning focus on YOU, ensuring your wants and needs are met in YOUR lifetime. Remember, the flight attendant also says sometimes how you better hold on tight because this trip might get bumpy? He is referring to you, if you choose not to address estate planning issues properly.
3. Estate planning costs too much money.
My response: In comparison to what? Guardianship? Probate? Obtaining Court Orders for Declarative Actions? All of which will likely be needed if you do not seek legal guidance. Pre-planning does not have to be expensive and the money you will spend by doing it right will truly save you headaches, heartaches and more money later.
4. I do not have enough assets over which to worry.
My response: YOU. You are your greatest asset. EVERY adult, including your 19 year old son whose bills you still pay or your 21 year old daughter who is still on your health care plan, should have a minimum of 4 estate documents: a Health Care Proxy (Living Will); Durable Power of Attorney; HIPAA; and Pre-Need Designation of Guardianship. Best Graduation present ever? A simple estate package to ensure your granddaughter will always have the care she needs based on the documents she signed as a young adult.
5. I will worry about that if and when it is needed.
My response: Unless you hold a crystal ball, you just do not know when that will be and by then it will be too late. The difference in legal rates is similar to seeing a doctor for a wellness check-up and being rushed to that same doctor for an emergency. The price difference is huge. Take the time to address these issues now while you can still control the process, rather than having the process control you.
If you DO have a crystal ball, we should talk. There is an investment that I am considering….
So, Please, BEFORE Your Troubles Hit the Fan, Make Sure to Create Your Estate Plan!!!