Many people feel intimidated by the thought of estate planning to the extent that they put it off altogether. However, even though estate planning may not feel like an easy thing to tackle, it doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming. The right attorney makes all the difference in not only helping to establish an appropriate plan, but also in walking you through the process and making you feel at ease while you are making some difficult decisions. Below are the most common times at which a person may be compelled to establish a will, trust, or power of attorney, or review what they already have in place.
After having children
A time when people many begin to think about estate planning seriously is after they start a family. Bringing a new little one into the picture can change how you look at the future. Wanting to protect your children and provide for both their care and support if you should die young is everyone’s strongest desire; and those decisions are best made by the parents themselves.
For many, finally being able to retire changes how they look at life in general. This can cause people to change their plans when it comes to their estates, in both major and minor ways; values may change, financial goals may shift, thoughts about beneficiaries and fiduciaries may have been altered, and the laws may also have changed. You may find that you have new ideas about what you want the future to look like, as well as new ideas about how to look after your loved ones when you are gone.
After death of a loved one, a “near death” experience, or a concerning medical diagnosis, and before a medical procedure
These are, by far, the most significant catalysts causing people to think about estate planning because when any of these things arise (and at least one will occur for all of us), it brings to mind our own mortality. Any of these occurrences will motivate people to plan because, all of the sudden, they realize they should get their ducks in a row before something happens… just in case.
After handling mom’s or dad’s estate
Some estates are more difficult to administer than others. This depends not only on the value, nature, and complexity of the assets, but also on the amount of work invovled and, often, family dynamics. For those who have already administered an estate, whether by will or trust, the common denominator prodding people to action is the desire to make things as easy, or easier, on their children.
Estate planning can feel overwhelming and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have the right attorney, whether you are going through a transitional period in your life, have new health concerns, or have had or witnessed a tragic event, making decisions now, rather than having them made for you later, will provide peace of mind for both you and your family.