The Importance of Good Estate Planning, by Walt Blenner
I remember when I wrote my first will for myself. I was 29 years old. I had been writing wills for clients for 4 or 5 years at that point but never took the time to write my own will until I was facing mortality square in the face. I was flying an airline that (then) had a reputation for having planes just fall out of the sky. Perhaps flying a more reputable airline would have been a better idea, but at that time the lower price was worth the risk.
Plus, I rationalized, I didn’t really have much by way of assets.
So many years later, I recognize the fallacy of that thinking. Parents, couples and individuals all should consider good estate planning whether you have many assets or few. It’s all about controlling your finances, your real estate and your wishes from beyond the grave, as gruesome as that may sound.
The scope and details of good estate planning goes way beyond the space of this blog entry, however, I can tell you that the advent of the New Year is the time so many clients either wonder if there will is still “good” or ponder finally sitting down to plot out what they want in their will.
Essential in any good planning are three documents: A Power of Attorney, a Living Will and a Health Care Surrogate form. These supplemental forms let your loved ones know what you want while you are alive but maybe unable to respond to family and friends. These documents will allow someone to take care of you, your wishes and your finances during the course of your illness until you are well or otherwise.
There are two choices of estate documents: Simple Wills or Living Trusts. Again, the differences are many as are the costs and I’d invite the reader to discuss what is best for their set of circumstances with legal counsel.
Having established your estate planning is the best peace of mind. Consider it a belated Holiday gift to yourself and your family.