I have not been hesitant to emphasize the need to do your estate planning. Without planning, many families deal with such difficult situations that could have been avoided.
Proper planning means more than simply listing what happens to your “stuff” when you die. Estate planning should address your wishes should you or your spouse become incapacitated and unable to care for yourselves. Also, if you have concerns that your assets may be inappropriately used after your passing, your estate plan should also provide solutions to this concern. This is actually less complicated (and less expensive) than many people think.
As important as this is, I need to comment on an issue that I hope keeps all other estate planning issues in context. Unfortunately, it is sometimes forgotten.
I have had too many meetings with families, usually when only one parent is still alive, and watched as children or beneficiaries debate their rights or argue about what they deserve after that parent is gone. That parent must feel as if they do not exist, or worse, it does not matter if they exist.
I will not soon forget the comments of one elderly man, his voice choked with emotion. He was aware that he was likely being taken advantage of by a beneficiary. But the cost of correcting the issue was too great. That choice could cost him the time, support - perhaps even love - of that beneficiary. The thought of even more loneliness was more than he could bear.
My purpose is not to judge any one. It is to share the lesson of which I was reminded. As important as it is to ensure your health and estate planning are in order, our highest priority must always be to ensure those in our lives never doubt their worth to us and to society.
© 2016 Steven J Wright