August is “National Make-A-Will Month,” and if you have already prepared your will, congratulations—too few Americans have taken this key first step in the estate planning process. Yet, while having a will is important—and all adults over age 18 should have this document in place—for all but a few people, creating a will is just one small part of an effective estate plan that works to keep your loved ones out of court and out of conflict.
One of the most difficult things to do is think about the possibility we may die unexpectedly or too early, leaving our children without one of the most important people in their lives. That's why protecting your children in any way possible, including legally, would be at the top of your priority. Create a legal plan to protect your children if something happens to you. This is one of the best Father's Day gifts you can give yourself and the people you love.
The DIY approach might be a good idea if you're looking to build a new deck for your backyard, but when it comes to estate planning, it's actually one of the worst choices you can make. Are you really willing to put your family's well-being and wealth at risk just to save a few bucks? Don't wait that these mistakes won't be discovered until you're gone. Here, we wrap up the list with the remaining five mistakes your family can't afford to make.
As we head into the third year of the pandemic, we realize how fragile our lives and health are. If you haven't gotten sick, you certainly know someone who has died in the past two years. Yet even if you avoid getting sick right now, the fact remains that we're all vulnerable to severe illness or injury. And if you're a parent, the most frightening aspect is knowing that if something happens to you, your children would be left without you to care for them, whether temporarily or permanently.
Creating your estate plan using online document services can give you a false sense of security—you think you've got estate planning covered when you most likely do not. Keep in mind, just because you created "legal" estate planning documents online, that doesn't mean they'll work when you or your loved ones need them. Without a clear knowledge of your family dynamics, nature of your assets, and how the legal process works upon your incapacity or death, you're likely to make serious mistakes.
The pandemic has caused Americans to change their behavior in different ways, and one of the most positive of these changes is related to estate planning. While many people said that the pandemic inspired them to see a greater need for creating an estate plan, others still don't think that estate planning is important. But as we've outlined here, not having an estate plan can be traumatic and costly for both you and your loved ones, who will be forced to deal with the mess you've left behind.
A comprehensive estate plan can protect what matters most to you. This means everything you own and everyone you love - your children. Take a few minutes to consider right now: if both you and your child's other parent were to become incapacitated or die right now, who would step forward to care for your child? Many parents struggle with including such provisions as naming a legal guardian for their children in their plan. If you're ready to take that step, start by sitting down with us.
If you are a single parent, life for you right now probably couldn't get any busier. You are likely being pulled between work, school activities, and home - and the inevitable emergencies that fill the lives of single parents everywhere. It's a huge responsibility, even if you do share time with a parenting partner, and especially so if you don't. Regardless, as a single parent, your children's lives are now largely in your hands, and the best way to protect them is through estate planning.
Wills and trusts are two of the most commonly used estate planning documents. Both documents are legal vehicles designed to distribute your assets to your loved ones upon your death, but the way in which they work is quite different. To know the best way to determine whether or not your estate plan should include a will, living trust, or some combination of the two, meet a Personal Family Lawyer for a Family Wealth Planning Session.
Estate planning is an obvious concern for all parents, especially when having a child with special needs. It's important that you are aware of the unique considerations to go into planning and understand the necessary things you need to provide to your child - emotionally, physically, and financially, especially in the event of your eventual death or incapacity. But the first and most critical decision you need to make is to ensure your child's future well-being by appointing legal guardians.