As we are enjoying these last few days and weeks of summer, perhaps travelling or spending time at the beach, is it possible that estate planning isn’t the first thing on our minds? 😊
When you hear the phrase “estate plan,” you might first think about paperwork. Or your mind might land on some of the uncomfortable topics that estate planning confronts head-on: end-of-life decisions, incapacity, and your family’s legacy from generation to generation. Those subjects hit home for everyone.
But while that could feel like a reason to avoid estate planning, the emotional nature of these conversations or decisions might actually be a reason to consider embracing the process. Most of our clients actually do embrace the process and experience good results and positive emotions. Here are a few ways in which emotion in estate planning is a good thing:
1. Estate planning creates stability in times of loss
If you end up incapacitated or when you pass away, of course it will be a difficult time for your loved ones. If your estate plan doesn’t include detailed instructions for a trusted decision maker and an actionable long-term care plan, it’s guaranteed to be even worse. You can save your loved ones from the confusion about what to do and the pressure to make rushed choices if this occurs, allowing them to save their energy for processing the situation.
2. Comprehensive estate plans keep emotional matters private
Detailed, trust-based estate planning with lifetime beneficiary directed trusts keeps your private matters out of the public eye. Without an updated, properly aligned trust-based estate plan, you’re running the risk of your estate going through court in a proceeding called probate. This means that choices become visible to those outside your inner circle. Because of the notice requirements, probate can also invite controversy and conflict which a private transfer would have avoided.
3. Estate planning can bring a family together
Everyone has heard of a situation in which siblings argued over what their parents left them as beneficiaries. But the opposite is also quite true. When you get your family and other loved ones involved in your estate planning process (perhaps through one of the Family Care Meetings we set up for some of our clients), you gain a wonderful opportunity to show them how much you care. Creating your estate plan can strengthen the bonds of love in a family and serve as a reminder of those bonds for years to come.
4. Your estate is about much more than money
Estate planning is about a whole lot more than just wealth distribution and taxes. Your estate plan can incorporate significant family heirlooms other matters totally unique to your life. For many clients, we hire a talented writer to help them create a Legacy Letter to add color, warmth and heart to their estate plan. The Legacy Letter often expresses hopes and dreams for our clients’ loved ones and shares family wisdom, stories and honors loved ones.
5. An estate plan means you’re not going it alone
You shouldn’t have to face trying times alone. Whether the estate in question is yours or a loved one’s, your estate planning attorney will have the answers. Let us take care of the nuts and bolts with regards to educating your appointed agents about their duties so you can know that we will be there to take care of your loved ones when they need our help. The idea of setting everything straight on your own can be a stressful one, but these emotional decisions are much easier to make with a trusted advisor by your side such as your financial advisor, CPA or estate planning attorney.
We want you to feel ownership and investment in getting your estate plan to reflect who you are today and as your lives, your loved ones, your assets and the laws continue to evolve in the future. Estate planning is an opportunity to look at some of life’s big questions and ultimately make sure your family feels your care for them through the choices you make. We look forward to having and continuing those conversations with you.
Curtis Kaiser, Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law