Sensational news stories about family feuds erupting after a celebrity has passed away can be surprising: how could someone with millions at stake have neglected to create an estate plan?
Of course, it’s always easy to look at a situation from the outside and determine what you would do better. But a more productive take-away from these celebrity conflicts is to ask yourself: do you have an estate plan? You may not have a vault with thousands of unreleased records like Prince (and if you do have a vault of unreleased records…they should probably stay there), but if you own a car, a home, or a bank account, then you do have an estate, and yes, you too need an estate plan.
An estate plan is about a lot more than just money, so even if you don’t feel like you have a lot, there are many purposes for your plan. An estate plan allows you to:
- Offer guidance to your loved ones during a difficult time. Creating an estate plan is a powerful gift for your family, so that they aren’t left contemplating too many challenging decisions, and wondering whether or not they’re following your wishes.
- Provide healthcare instructions in case you are incapacitated. If you are involved in an accident or have a health situation that renders you incapacitated, your estate plan will provide documents that clearly outline your wishes for your healthcare, and who is empowered to make decisions on your behalf.
- Allow important financial decisions to be made if you are out of the country or incapacitated. In addition to documents relating to your healthcare needs, your plan will come with documents authorizing the person of your choice to sign time-sensitive financial documents should you be unable to do so for any reason, whether you have a health crisis or are on a Mediterranean cruise.
- An estate plan provides instructions for the care of your minor children, providing you the comfort of knowing that your children will be in hands you trust.
Learn from the painful mistakes of others, and give your family the gift of a well-thought-out estate plan.