When Is a Good Time for Estate Planning?
I pray everyone is holding strong during this unprecedented time in our lives. It is a time that has forced us to slow down (or even stop) and take stock of ourselves, our families, our friends, and our communities.
When I was a teenager, just starting college, my mom invited an insurance agent to our house to talk about life insurance policies, burial plots, Wills, what would happen to me and my siblings should anything happen to her, etc. I…..Freaked…Out!! I refused to be a part of the conversation. I actually left the house to avoid being involved. What do you need a life insurance policy for? Why do you need a Will? Why are we talking about your death? As an invincible teenager, those were discussions I dreaded. Why? Because for me, discussing these things meant it would surely happen. Well, guess what? In this world, there are only two options, life or death. I am not aware of an in-between.
Fast forward to 25 years later, and here I am an estate planning attorney encouraging interested individuals to plan ahead. I sometimes get the same reaction from clients that I had with my mom all those years ago.
Some might say this is an inappropriate time to encourage folks to think about or even prepare their Wills and Powers of Attorneys. But let me ask you this, when is it a good time to encourage folks to make these life-changing decisions? A decision that can decide how their hard-earned assets are distributed. A decision that can decide who among their loved ones can make health care decisions on their behalf. A decision that can determine who takes care of their kids. Had you asked me 25 years ago, I would have said it is never a good time.
As I have grown older, I have experienced sudden illnesses and deaths within my inner circles and with my clients. For those who took the time to create a plan, it has made life easier for their families knowing exactly what their intent was. For those who thought it was “not a good time,” it has meant unnecessary litigation expenses and family discords.
So again I ask....when is a good time for estate planning?