I do have one non-negotiable, must-do for my clients: Get your estate planning done. By that, I mean, get your legal paperwork complete which instructs the living how to handle your assets if you become incapacitate and/or die. This includes your will, living trust, durable power of attorney, health care directive, property agreement, etc.
It’s a great act of love for your family
I understand first-hand the importance of getting these documents done. My mom died when I was 21, and my sister and I were the beneficiaries of her estate (for which I am deeply grateful) but were also the beneficiaries (victims?) of some pretty poor choices in her estate plan because she got lousy advice. My grandfather died and made me the executor of his estate, but then I watched my aunt usurp that planning because a trust was not put into place. My cousin died and made me his sole heir and I had to probate his estate in Georgia. Then, a very close personal friend of mine dropped dead of a heart attack at 43, and he was 10 days away from signing his trust documentation. Took me three years to probate that estate. As you can see, I come from a long line of dead people. Let me tell you: No matter how much you think your family loves you and loves each other, there is no worse combination than death, family and money. I’ve seen very few exceptions. Death has an uncanny ability to bring out the worst in everyone.
The best thing you can do for your loved ones is get your estate planning done. It will save them the headache and heartache of wondering what it is your wishes would have been for you when you died, not only what to do with your corpse but what to do with your kids, your pets, and your assets. It will save them a ton of money and pain of the probate court system. We live in a very wealthy part of the world where it will be easy to accumulate $1 million or more over 30 years. You need to have your estate planning in order. Yes, the laws are in flux right now. But that does not excuse you from making sure that you’ve done your estate planning. Hire a good lawyer. Pay the fee. Get it done right. Get your assets titled into your living trust. Do it today.