Why do I Need an Estate Plan?

Most people I know don’t think they need an estate plan.

“The kids can take care of it after I’m gone.”

“It’s too expensive.”

“I want one, but I don’t know where to start.”

“I don’t have the time. I keep forgetting.”

I’m with you on this. Once upon a time, after the birth of our fourth child and an anticipated weekend away without kids for our anniversary, I was spurred into action. (Probably by postpartum hormones.) Regardless of the catalyst, I was panicked and felt like we needed a plan in case we died in a car accident and grandma had the kids. I didn’t have the time or the money to hire anyone.

I printed out the free statutory will form from the California Bar Association website, one for myself and one for my husband. It allowed us to name a guardian for our children and an executor to take care of the finances. That was 7 years ago, and I still have those forms.

It’s time for an upgrade. Since finishing law school and watching the last of my grandparents pass away, I now know exactly why I need an estate plan. I currently don’t have much of an “estate” to speak of. It consists of a house, a couple of cars, and a bank account that always seems to run low.

But in the last few years, I’ve watched how my own family handled with ease the property of my grandparents after their passing. It was such a benefit to the generation above me: they were able to avoid probate (and those enormous probate fees) and obtain a leg up in financial terms.

Every family has wealth. By proper financial and estate planning, that wealth can be preserved and handed down to future generations. And, if you are like me and sometimes imagine the worst case scenario of an early death and leaving behind children, then an estate plan can ease your mind and make sure your children are taken care of.

It’s easy to put off for another day. Totally easy to say, “I’ll get to that later.”

I am getting my estate in order. No more putting it off.

It’s time.

Is it time for you, too?