The holidays are upon us yet again. Every year at this time, it is a tradition that I pester you about visiting with your family about your estate plan and wishes in the event you pass away. Although it may kill the holiday mood a bit to talk about your passing, it is very important that you do so. There are likely 2 or 3 people very close to you that you envision “handling things” upon your incapacity or passing. Those are the folks that you need to sit down with over a pint of beer or glass of wine and just let them know your thoughts.
As I mentioned, it is a bit of a mood killer, but you may find it is comforting to both you and your loved ones to do so. Letting them know your wishes means that they aren’t guessing (and getting it WRONG!) when the time comes that something happens to you. It will lessen the likelihood that your family will fight about issues after your incapacity or passing because you won’t have to guess about what “Mom” or “Dad” wanted. If Mom and/or Dad just sat down and went over his or her wishes, there won’t be as much guesswork (which leads to disagreements).
If you haven’t done an estate plan, it isn’t as painful as it sounds. To get one done is really just a matter of completing a few simple steps:
The cost of an estate plan will pale in comparison to the cost of dying intestate (without a will). And believe it or not, creating an estate plan can be a fun project. It is an opportunity to sit down with an attorney and really think about your life and your current situation and those people that are the most important to you. On the flip side, it tears my heart apart to see the relatives of a recently deceased person who did no estate planning because it is SO, SO hard on families shortly after a loss to have to make important decisions. And as referenced above, it can often lead to infighting among surviving family. Bottom line, don’t do that to your family. Having a well-thought-out estate plan is one of the best gifts you can give your family this year. It brings tremendous peace of mind.