Article 55-Estate Planning Series: The Personal Cost of Failing to Plan When You Can

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Probate, Trusts, Will

Too often, I meet with a recently widowed spouse who knows little or nothing about their estate plan. Usually it is a surviving wife, and she is very frightened. Anyone can understand how difficult it must be to deal with the challenges and emotions of losing a spouse. There may be no lonelier time in that person’s life. It must be especially painful at that time to carry the additional burden of not knowing what will happen next. • “What is going to happen to what we spent a lifetime building?” • “How long/expensive will that process be?” • “How do I even begin?” I have received phone calls within minutes of a spouse passing, asking me these questions. What a terrible additional burden to carry at that painful time. I am convinced that if husbands could see what their wives go through, they would never allow that to happen . . . especially because it is so easily preventable. The experience is very different for the couple who has met with me before someone passes. Of course, the grieving is still there, but the fear about these questions is not. The surviving spouse knows what is going to happen, even if she may (or may not) need some assistance to make it happen. Even if all they have done is to become more educated about the process, there is much less reason to fear. The focus can be on the intensely personal feelings that matter most at that tender time. “Doing nothing” is never a good estate plan. It is not solving anything, and too often is simply heaping on the surviving spouse more difficulties that must now be handled alone. Do not let this happen to your loved one. Come find out about the issues that you and your spouse should be discussing. © 2016 Steven J Wright

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