On December 21, 2012

The world isn’t coming to an end today so it is time to make some plans for 2013. Top of my list, getting my Estate Planning done. Well not really but this is the year I am going to get around to it. Every day you see reasons to do Estate Planning. Drunk driver crosses the median and takes out and on coming driver. Workplace accident kills a worker. Senseless act leaves a person disabled or dead. Mother Nature unleashes her fury, 1 or more left dead. A battle with cancer is lost. Mortality is all around us and as humans, a certainty.

You see stories on the news of families needing help because a parent has died unexpectedly and there was no provision for making sure the family would survive.  If you don’t have family you may want to think about who will make decisions for you should you become incapacitated or unable to make them for yourself? Many years ago I took the first steps in getting life insurance to make sure if I die there would be money to help my family go on. They won’t get rich by any means but there will be money for funeral expenses, mortgage payments, and college tuition. When I was single it was just a small policy to pay for funeral costs. Part 1 of my Estate Planning is taken care of and it was a small price to pay to know things won’t collapse when I’m gone.

The rest are a bit more challenging. Thinking about the end of my life can be uncomfortable.  Which means avoidance is the normal plan for most of us. Then I turned it around and looked at it from the perspective of those that will be left behind. Do I want them to have to struggle and fight over what I wanted for them? Will losing me cause them to change their dreams or kill their ambition?

I chose not to be selfish and to tackle this head on.  I need someone who understands the legal aspects of all the tools available: Wills, Trusts, Living Wills… Since I am not sure of what I need this is a key factor. The biggest component is the financial one so having financial knowledge is a must. Are they Certified Financial Planners? Do they offer a free consultation so you know up front what your costs will be? Do they offer any seminars so you can get a feel for their knowledge and how they communicate? Do they respect the human element in the process? Did I get the high pressure sales pitch?

Do your homework and the choices get a lot easier.

Categories: Estate Planning

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