It’s Too Late To Protect Your Children When You’re Dead

According to Rocket Lawyer, 64% of the public doesn’t have a will and that is up from 57% in 2011. Does this surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me. I think the situation is a combination in which 1/2 of those who haven’t addressed the issue don’t recognize the need for an estate plan and the rest do realize the need but they have a Procrastination Problem! As to procrastination – I understand it and admit that it took me too many years to do my own plan when I certainly had the ready means to do so. Keep in mind, however, unlike a certain candidate for the most powerful position in the World – I’m not too proud to admit that I was wrong to delay, lucky that it didn’t hurt me or my family and glad that I recognized the error of my ways.

I’ve heard all the excuses. “I’m about planning for living not dying.” “If I address it, something bad will happen.” Then there’s the classic – “Yes, you’re right, I will take care of it.” (This was my favorite that I’d say to Bonnie, my wife). If Rocket Lawyer is correct, then 64% of those of you who receive this Blast do not have an estate plan. Let me give you a tip – you need one, and it requires more than a will but it’s not difficult or costly. Here are three reasons and I challenge you to disagree. #1 – You will die in the future. #2 – If you pass away and don’t have a plan your family is the one who will be punished (you’re no longer around). #3 – a simple proper plan avoids heartache – at a time when heartache is already occupied by more pressing matters.

It may come as a surprise, but an Estate Plan is as much about living as it is dying. You need a Durable Power of Attorney so that your spouse, child or friend can attend to legal matters on your behalf when you are living but not mobile or able to attend to such matters. Without a DPOA your family has to hire an attorney, race to the Probate Court and have a Conservatorship opened for you to attend to such matters. Besides the cost, I can tell you that when you are at the point where you need someone to act for you – the situation is already stressful and time- consuming and is not the time you want to devote to a court proceeding. A Healthcare Power of Attorney is also critical because if you are in serious medical straights (or one of your loved ones are in such condition) the Healthcare Power vests with you advocate (your spouse, child, parent, whoever you designate) the necessary authority to decide whether to sustain life or seek a more palliative approach. Without the power – you’re at the mercy of the hospital’s administration and trust me, they are far more concerned about liability for their actions that your desires (which you cannot express due to your condition).

While an estate plan includes these important power of attorney documents, you should also know that there are old school ideas to avoid probate but they are bad ideas. Jointly titling assets with your children on your real estate and bank accounts can eliminate potentially important asset planning strategies when facing nursing home care in your later stages of life and worse yet – if your children are titled on your assets and file bankruptcy or get divorced, in this devilish world you may find that the bankruptcy trustee and your child’s soon to be ex-spouse are claiming 1/2 ownership to your real property and bank accounts – not what you want to happen.

Guess what? It so happens THAV GROSS is holding a seminar on October 19th – “It’s too Late to Protect Your Children When You’re Dead – You Need an Estate Plan!” devoted to Estate Planning – not financial planning, debt issues or Medicaid Planning – just the nuts and bolts of everything you need to learn about Estate Planning. As always, you’re invited, it’s free, and best of all – attendees will receive a Gold Certificate good for a $300 discount (one per family) on any Estate Plan which the attendee obtains from the firm. Estate Plans are already inexpensive at THAV GROSS – but we’re making it even less costly – for a good reason – you need an Estate Plan and we want to help. I hope we will see you on October 19th – so sign up below. Be well.

Have a great weekend,
Ken