Are You Playing Russian Roulette With Your Family? Why Estate Planning Is Urgent

Attorneys love to ask questions. So here are two to start.

Will you live forever? Do you know when and how you will die?

If you answered no to both of these questions (and you should have) estate planning should be one of your highest priorities. Why?   Because families are most vulnerable when they are grieving or dealing with a crisis. Planning for our possible incapacity and eventual death is the only way to protect our loved ones from overwhelming stress, anger, instability, and financial hardship.

Day 73: Kerns family self portrait {about me} (Photo credit: lorenkerns)

So why don’t more people have a comprehensive estate plan in place?   It’s not because we don’t love our families, sadly it is because we do not prioritize them. As a society we like making excuses: I don’t have enough assets; I don’t make enough money; I don’t know where to start. But these excuses won’t stop us from becoming severely injured or killed in a car accident on the way home from work. We cannot avoid our own death.

Our finger is on the trigger of that gun each day we let excuses prevent us from planning.  Instead of proactively choosing to protect our families, we foolishly spend time shooting off another round.  Is it more important to buy your eight-year old an iphone 5 this Christmas, or to make sure you have life insurance in case your proverbial gun runs out of bullets?

Here are five steps to take now to protect your family today before it is too late. 1) Decide to create your estate plan. 2) Set your estate planning goals. 3) Identify your assets. 4) Think about who you want to raise your children, take care of your pets, and make medical or financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable. 5) Find a trusted attorney that will advise and counsel you as well as create an individualized plan that will protect your family.

Every day as an estate planning attorney I see how a little planning goes a long way.   So my last question to you is: Do you love your family enough to prioritize them?   For their sake, I hope your answer is yes.   And remember, actions speak louder than words.

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