Where there is a will, there is a way. And if there isn’t a will? Well, then there is a family flight. Don't leave your family unprotected! Today, I am going to discuss some basics of estate planning so you can protect your family and save them added grief.
I have news for you. One day you are going to die. And, unfortunately, the mortality rate is still 100%. Those little undeniable facts are not good news. But there is still good news. You can still protect your family even after you’ve moved on! Let’s discuss four key areas that will help your family experience a less painful grieving process as well as protect them.
Also, what is commonly and simply referred to as a will.
Here’s the thing… All estates exist! Whether you are worth $5 million or $5,000, it doesn’t matter. You still have an estate. Here’s another important fact. All estates go through probate court. So, having a will is extremely important. It dictates what should happen when your estate goes through probate court. In almost every state, your will needs to be executed properly and with state specific language in order to be valid. Make sure you are using the right language and an estate planning attorney to draft your will. Have children? You need to make sure your children are protected. If you and your spouse were to both pass without this in place, your kids could become wards of the state and enter the foster care system.
A living will is a document where you may find yourself incapacitated but still alive. It provides direction with what to do for you. Basically, it settles things before people can voice their opinions of what should happen.
You don’t just want a power of attorney. You want a durable one. A durable power of attorney grants financial control to someone specific in case you are incapacitated in some way and unable to make financial decisions. It is commonly put into place because of the prevalent risk of Alzheimers or Dementia. Once you are unable to make decisions for yourself, you are no longer able to sign for power of attorney so get it in place now! A Durable Power of Attorney provides that security in case the need arises.
Make sure you have something like this in place right away rather than waiting for signs of Dementia or Alzheimers. In most cases, spouses create mirrored versions for all three of these documents, giving rights and guardianship to the spouse in case of death or injury. You should also have a back up in place, beyond your spouse, who can take control if you and your spouse pass away.
There needs to be clear communication with what will happen when you pass. It should not just be between spouses but also between kids and parents, and even immediate family. Sit down once a year and read through your will, going over all details as well as any changes or updates.
A lack of communication is what causes those gnarly fights when people do pass. Sitting down annually for those conversations can save a lot of additional pain and headaches because there won’t be any excuses. Everyone will be on the same page. If you are 18 years of age or more, you should have a will in place to allow your loved ones to mourn your passing and honor your wishes. Protect yourself and your family by putting these four things in place, which will not only save a lot of heartache but will keep everyone’s wallets heavier and hearts lighter.
Question: So, what is your plan if you kick the bucket? Is your family protected? Need some direction? Contact me today! Be sure to also check out my free e-book for additional tips.
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