It’s never “fun” to write a will or estate plan, but there are few things you can do that are more helpful to your loved ones. When we really get down to the nitty-gritty, there are almost always questions we’d rather ignore. A really good estate plan, however, will take the answers to these questions into account, even difficult questions like these:
1. What happens if the whole family dies at the same time?
Of course this is very unlikely, but of course we hear of entire families perishing in house fires or plane crashes all the time. Especially if someone in the family is a business owner it’s important to address this situation, even if it’s very unlikely.
2. Are there any relatives that haven’t been mentioned?
Even the most open families sometimes harbor family secrets, and it’s best if these family secrets come to light sometime before the reading of the will. Things can get very complicated if an unacknowledged son or daughter turns up to make a claim on the estate.
3. Are there any other unmentioned important relationships?
A long-term lover can cause as much disruption to an estate as an unacknowledged child, especially if the deceased owned property with the secret lover. Needless to say, secret marriages can also wreak havoc on any estate plan.
4. Who takes care of the pets?
The welfare of our pets is very important to most of us, but too few of us make arrangements for their care after an expected—or unexpected—–death. It’s possible to set up a trust for your pets, or they can be taken care of by an organization that specializes in taking care of animals who have lost their owners.
5. How do you want your care to be handled if you are dependent on machinery to stay alive?
Some people want to be kept alive no matter what; some people want no extraordinary measures taken whatsoever. Unpleasant as it is to think about, you’ll spare your relatives a great deal of anguish if you write your preferences down in a health care directive. Otherwise, they are left trying to decide what to do – a terrible position to put them in.
It happens all too often: the embarrassing or hard-to-talk-about stuff is left out of an estate plan, with the result that even the best-written estate plan doesn’t do its job properly. The best plan is a plan that leaves nothing out. It’s not always pleasant, but it is important. Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more!