You may have read recently about a couple, married over 50 years, who passed away the same night. Although no one is certain, it appears that she fell, and in attempting to help her, he fell as well. They were found next to each other.
I had the privilege to work with this wonderful couple. They were great people with a great sense of humor. Somewhere in the shock of their passing is the silver lining that they did not have to be without each other.
However, none of us could have predicted that result. Indeed, it was rare enough to be newsworthy.
Fortunately, this couple took seriously the need to have an estate plan. They understood the difference between estate documents and an estate plan, and were prepared for unexpected circumstances. Although their family must deal with a profound loss, they have the direction to carry out their parents’ wishes.
Planning before the crisis occurs is incredibly important. Not only does it help ensure the goals of an estate plan will be met, it provides important direction for family left behind. The family is no left to guess or assume how their parent’s affairs were to be handled.
Sometimes, even the most well-meaning children have differing recollections of their parents’ wishes; which can turn into family disputes. This risk is avoided when clear instructions are included in the estate plan. For this reason, the value of advanced preparation may exceed the value of any assets left behind. That preparation helps the family left behind to be set up for success.
An effective estate plan does not happen automatically, and it does not happen just by filling out a form from the internet. At the same time, an estate plan need not be expensive to be effective.
© 2017 Steven J Wright