National Estate Planning Awareness Week
How important is estate planning? I would say it is very important, but you would expect me to say that based on my work. I can tell you, however, that estate planning is so important that our federal government, in 2008, designated one week every year to raise awareness of estate planning and encourage people to actually create their own plan. This year our National Estate Planning Awareness Week is October 19-25, and the hope is that this emphasis will lead more Americans to finish a project that they all know is important.
Let me give you a little more information that I think is valuable but not known by a lot of people:
First, did you know that every American adult really has an estate plan already written? You see, the government of each state has laid out the guidelines for those who don’t wish to create their own customized plan. This idea might be fine with some people, but understand that if you pass away without a will the courts will decide who serves as guardians for your children, who will settle your estate, who will inherit your assets and more. In addition, lawyers or other people will need to be chosen to handle those responsibilities, and the costs will come out of your estate. So, any inheritance you would like to pass on to your loved ones will be diminished by the money that will go to the lawyers and courts.
Second, people often tell me that they are not rich enough to create an estate plan. This is really concerning to me, because it tells me that people don’t really understand the full picture. An estate plan sounds more glorious that it really is. The word “estate” makes this sound like you need to be ultra-rich. You need to understand your estate simply includes your possessions whether you have a lot or a little. Plus, if you don’t have a large amount of assets, why would you want to give much of it to lawyers rather than to loved ones? A good plan ensures your assets end up in the hands of those you care about and have chosen.
Third, people often say they are not old enough to create an estate plan. Again, this is very concerning. Many of those young people have young families that include children. Without a plan, the future of those children will be decided by others who might not share your same values. Ultimately the decision might end up in the courts. There is also the cost factor because working through these decisions will cost money – money that I expect you would rather have directed to the care of your children.
There are many other good reasons to create your own customized estate plan, but I think you get the picture from just these few realities.
My encouragement is to take this opportunity seriously and make the decision to complete your plan now. I realize you probably still have questions and concerns. My services are offered at no cost and my job is to help you find a solution that is right for you, because it is your life – your plan – your legacy!
Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-677-4051) to ask questions or set up a time to meet. I look forward to hearing from you.