Family together

End-of-Year Planning

Several times a day, we receive inquiries from the general public about needing help after a loved one has passed away.  Here are just a few recent inquiries:

“My wife passed away with no will and we owned a house and land together.  Her children are trying to take half.”

“My husband recently passed away. He left a will that was in a safety deposit box which I cannot access. I do not have the key. I was the beneficiary to everything”

“I need help with probate. My mother recently passed away and I am unable to locate her will.”

All of these recent real-life situations could have been avoided with proper estate planning.

As we head into the season of gratitude and giving, have you considered that an estate plan is actually for the blessing and benefit of your loved ones – as much as, if not more than for yourself?  As the above inquiries demonstrate, it’s our loved ones who suffer from our procrastination. 

Preparing for the end of life is something we all know we should do, but it’s natural to put off uncomfortable conversations and spending money on an estate plan.  Is there a better time to stop procrastinating and get our affairs in order than when we’re anticipating spending time with our loved ones over the holidays?

Consider giving the gift of avoiding the cost and complexities of probate, minimizing the opportunity for family conflict, keeping your personal affairs private and out of the hands of the state, keeping control within the family, and protecting what you leave your loved ones from unnecessary taxes and predatory creditors.  Consider giving the gift of peace of mind.

Share with them what you’ve done while everybody’s together.  We encourage our clients to “turn the cards face up” and let loved ones know what your estate plan does while you’re still here and able to explain and answer questions. 

While everyone is together over the holidays (including virtually), have a family meeting!  You can show them your estate planning binder with your living trust, will, financial power of attorney, advance medical directives, and personal instructions. 

You can show them where you’ve indicated in your estate binder who gets grandma’s jewelry and who gets grandpa’s gun collection.  You can show them the tab where you have a list of your assets, copies of statements, and insurance information.  You can let them know where to find your login credentials for your devices, and financial and social media accounts.  You can answer questions and offer explanations that could never be given after you are gone.

The holidays are the perfect time to give yourself – and your loved ones – the gift of peace of mind.  Call us and get on an estate attorney’s calendar for a complimentary consultation.  We look forward to helping you give the gift of peace of mind.

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