A last will and testament is the most commonly thought-of document when it comes to an estate plan. But really it is only a very small part of an integrated plan that ensures your family stays out of court and out of conflict if and when something happens to you.
Do not think you can just write your own will and that will help your family.
You have probably seen ads from services that tout the idea that you can write your own will quickly – maybe even while you are in the security line at the airport (seriously, we have seen those ads in our own Facebook feeds).
Instead, consider the reality that trying to do so could actually create far more trouble for your loved ones down the road if you try to write your own will. Your family and loved ones need you to get professional support from someone who can help you look at what you own, who you love, and what would happen to you and everyone you love if and when something happens to you.
Death is unavoidable – and incapacity may happen before that. These are non-negotiables.
Facing these matters head-on leads you – and your loved ones – to having the best life possible. Otherwise, it is the people you love who get stuck with everything you were not willing to take care of now.
Unfortunately, if you go it alone, you may miss important facets of what happens in the event of your incapacity or death. For example, you may think that a will is sufficient when what you really need is a probate avoidance trust to keep your family out of court. A five-minute will won’t help you stay out of court.
Or you may think your kids are adequately protected because you have a will, but you may really need a full analysis of what happens if one or more of your guardians becomes incapacitated themselves or gets divorced – and without it, your kids could end up in the care of strangers or family members you would never choose, even if just temporarily. Before you do anything, get educated and empowered to do what is right for you.
The right plan for you begins with knowing what you have, and then being clear on what is necessary to keep your family out of court and conflict and keep your assets out of your state’s unclaimed property fund. If you are ready to write your will, that is great – come see us first.
The biggest mistake you can make is not facing the reality of death, the second biggest mistake is facing it alone.
If you need help getting started, consult with us. We will help you through the process so you can make sure your loved ones are protected and your wishes are honored.
This article is a service of Taylor Kaspar Law. We don’t just draft documents – we help families focus on their legacy.