Many of our recent posts have focused on that fact that it is easy to procrastinate when thinking about your estate plan. Apparently, we are a nation of procrastinators. According to a 2012 survey by the legal information website FindLaw, only 35 percent of Americans actually have a will.
But maybe procrastination isn't the reason you've been avoiding estate planning. Perhaps you are a private person and are very protective of your personal and sensitive information. If this describes you, consider the fact if you died or became incapacitated today, most of your personal information, plans and final wishes would die with you and could not be communicated to those you love. Even if you have drafted a will in your head, it may do you no good until it's on paper.
If you have children or other close relatives, you can't assume that they know what your wishes are unless you communicate with them or at least leave documentation. And remember: Your estate plan isn't just for issues related to your property after you die.
It's also important to designate health-care power of attorney and financial power of attorney. These are people you trust and have designated to make medical decisions and financial decisions on your behalf if you are still alive but can no longer make these decisions or can no longer communicate them.
Even if you are a private person who is reluctant to share any personal information, it's crucial to get these important decisions on paper and in a place where your trusted loved ones can find them. If you have questions or want to know more about estate planning, please contact an experienced attorney.
Source: The Washington Post, “Put your estate plan on paper before it's too late,” Michelle Singletary, March 20, 2014