Get Your Will Off Your To-Do List!

I was sitting in a tax class many years ago, when I commented to a class-mate that I had purchased a couple of family history logs for my young son’s grandparents to complete, so my son would be aware of his ancestry. I told her that my in-laws were aging and I wanted to have them fill these books out so I could pass them on to him. She turned to me and said, you know, its time for us to create those history logs for our kids too. I suppose, intellectually I knew that I wasn’t as young as I used to be, but somehow, completing a heritage book seemed to be something grandparents did, not me. Her comment really landed like an arrow right between the eyes, it woke me up to the fact that even if I wasn't old, the years were going by, and I needed to be prepared. Well, historical documents are one thing, they are nice to have for grandchildren and great grandchildren to peruse many years from now. Financial documents however affect your family’s welfare now and in the future, so I realized that I also needed to get on with taking care of those items, like a will.

Things like
creating a will, which would also ensure that the guardianship for minor children would be taken care of in the manner that we would want.

a durable power of attorney,

c) health care proxy and/or a living will so that medical decisions can be made on your behalf, should you become incapacitated.

See this

Many of my friends and colleagues say that getting these documents done are in their mental to-do lists, and have been for sometime, because we all think, “oh, we have time.” I was doing the same thing.

Dying without a will, means that your legacy may not end up where you want it to, so with that classmate’s word in my ear, I made a beeline to take care of this business. The first thing to do is get a recommendation for an experienced estate planning attorney, and make an appointment. In most cases the initial appointment should be at no cost. At the time you make the appointment, request a list of items that will be required to complete the transaction so that you may be prepared. Before this appointment, spend some time collecting this information, and
thinking about these things.

Some of these items may take some time to compile. This will also give you an opportunity to think through the things that you have questions about, before you get to the billable appointments.

Once you have these estate documents created and in place, they should be kept in a secure place, and updated whenever you have a life changing event. In any event, mark your calendar to have your documents reviewed at least every 18 months to 2 years, as laws change and may impact the results you are seeking to accomplish with your will. Usually, your attorney should contact you when there are changes in the law, however, if they don’t, contact them.

Oh, just one more thing, an instructor in one of my CFP classes, told us an anecdote about a friend of his, a husband and new father, who had his documents to purchase life insurance completed and in his brief case, he drove around with the documents for 3 weeks, and on the way to finalize the transaction, he got into a fatal car wreck, with the documents still in his briefcase.

Make that appointment today!

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"No matter who you are, making informed decisions about what you do with your money, will help build a more stable financial future for you and your family." Alan Greenspan