When my husband and I were in our 20s, we didn’t have what anyone would consider an ‘estate.’ We lived paycheck to paycheck and had a mortgage on a small house. We did, however, have two priceless assets that provided good reasons for us to make a will—our children.
No one likes to consider the prospect of tragedy striking, especially when children are young, but according to this article in the Lodi News Sentinel, “Planning for what comes last,” estate planning is especially important for families just starting out. When the children grow up, estate planning is important to protect the children, making their lives easier, when the time comes to pass assets along.
Think of an estate plan as a gift for the next generation, as is making funeral plans in advance. You can’t assume that your adult children will know what you want for your funeral and you don’t want them to have to make decisions during a time of great sadness.
These are gifts, that parents who love their children can give: taking care of the business side of their lives and their deaths, so that a difficult time is less painful.
Once you have worked with an elder law attorney to prepare all the necessary documents and made funeral plans, the next step is to share that information with your heirs.
It’s not an easy conversation to have. Most of us tend to keep that side of our lives private from our kids, no matter how old we become. However, sharing this information can keep families from fighting in the future.
It is not easy to know how much different members of the family can handle and who can be trusted with what information while you are living. There are times when people who appear completely selfless, suddenly become greedy when an inheritance is being probated. It’s hard to anticipate this. However, there are several things that you can do now to make it easier for those you love.
- Have a will and if appropriate, a trust, created with an estate planning attorney. Don’t neglect a power of attorney for health and for finances.
- Make funeral plans and tell your family about those plans.
- Make an end-of-life plan. Don’t leave it to others to make these difficult decisions, if you know what you want to have done.
- Plan for your pets, in case they outlive you.
- Protect your digital assets by obtaining the correct information for all your social platforms, so your loved ones are empowered to access and close accounts after your death.
If you are among those who think “If I don’t make a plan for death, maybe I won’t die,”—you share that idea with many. However, the sad truth is if you don’t make a plan, your children will have to deal with an expensive and stressful situation.
Reference: Lodi News-Sentinel (July 1, 2018) “Planning for what comes last”