There’s nothing fun about doing laundry, buying insurance, going in for a check-up, or …. estate planning, but alas, these are all things we need to do. If your life is anything like mine, then you’re probably doing a million things, and so it’s easy to forget things, from time to time, including estate planning!
Whether you’re navigating estate planning as a new parent, young professional, seasoned tamale, or whatever stage of life you may be in, with a million and one things going on, we are here to help make sure you don’t forget things when it comes to your estate plan.
Here are five things most people forget about when it comes to estate planning.
Most people forget….
1. How to distribute their estate
This might come as a surprise to you but people, particularly those with no children, forget about who they want their estate to be distributed to.
Whether it’s to other family, a non-profit or something else, it’s always a good idea to know how you want your estate to be distributed.
Take a minute. Think about it!
2. Who they want as their backup decision maker
Most of us know that if something happens to us, who our first choice would be to make decisions for us, but what happens if that first choice is not available to make decisions? Do you have a backup to your number one? If not, it’s a good time to think about who you want as an alternative to your number one.
If it was 2004 we’d be asking who the Kevin to your Brittney is, but it’s not so we just want to know, if the person you selected as a decision maker for your Estate isn’t available, who would you pick?
If you don’t know, now is the time to think about it.
3. End of life decisions
Estate planning is hard in and of itself because people don’t like thinking about why an estate plan is necessary, their own death.
Surprisingly people come in ready to work on their estate plan and have NO idea about the end of life decisions.
Questions i’ve asked that people don’t know:
- Do you want to be kept alive if medically possible?
- Do you want to be kept alive if you’re on a ventilator?
- If something happens and your quality of life diminishes, what’s your priority – quality of life or being kept alive by a machine? Do your loved ones know what you want?
- Do you want to be an organ donor?
These are just a few things that people forget to factor in when it comes to estate planning but an important aspect to every estate plan.
4. To talk to their loved ones about being their decision maker
It’s hard to have a conversation with friends and family about what life might be like in case of your death, but it’s something that needs to happen.
No one should be surprised to find out that they are named as your trustee, agent for health care or other decision maker to your life, after you’ve passed. These conversations should be happening while you’re alive. Preferably before you come and talk to your lawyer about your estate plan.
Being responsible for your healthcare, finances and other big life choices are big decisions. It shouldn’t be a surprise to you, OR to them, about who you want to help make these decisions.
5. To think about the future
It sounds ironic to think that when it comes to estate planning one should think about the future, but often it’s more than just our future we need to think about.
Most people naturally want to leave their children to close of kin – parents, aunt’s uncles etc. but something important to consider, that people often forget, is if you choose your parents to be guardians of your minor children, are they in good enough health to take care of your kids and provide the quality of life you want for your children?
Heck, who knows, do your parents and loved ones even WANT to parent your children? It’s a big ask. Would a friend or younger family be better suited to take care of your children?
Thinking about the long term possibility of the impacts your choices make are important. It’s easy to forget that when estate planning, we always want to view our loved ones as they are, but we all age and it’s something we should take into consideration when making plans.
These are some things that people forget about when thinking about their estate plan! Still have more questions? Need support with your estate planning? I’m here to help!
We know how easy it is to forget things with the chaos of life, don’t let that be an excuse! I’m here to help you make this process as seamless as possible.
Jessica Henman, Attorney at Law, is based in Chico, California (born and raised in fact) and is here to help out anyone in California. For more assistance and custom estate plans give me a call at (530) 520-3109 or email to set-up a time to talk about getting the right estate plan, trust, wills, and other documents for you and your family.
I look forward to connecting with you! I’m here to help answer any questions you may have regarding estate planning!