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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Swan

Estate Plans Create & Maintain Family Harmony

In recent conversations, I’ve found myself with an interesting new characteristic: it’s like a sensor that tells me when people desperately need an estate plan.  “She’s basically my stepmother,” a friend recently said.  “I mean, they’re basically married.”

I thought to myself—basically married?! Do they have an estate plan that reflects their wishes for each other?  Because to me it sounds like you’re “basically” going to end up in court, “basically” fighting your almost-stepmother and trying to guess what your father’s wishes were.

These are exactly the kinds of strains that families don’t have to suffer if they have a thorough plan.

I get mixed responses whenever I talk about what I do at Swan Law.  Those who haven’t been through the loss of a loved one think it’s a tough sell to talk about death and to convince others that it’s a necessary conversation.  Those who have been through it, however, know both how valuable and invaluable an estate plan can be, and they often give a little shake of the head and say, “It’s so important.”

The valuable part is where probate is significantly reduced, attorney’s fees are lower, and, if you have a trust, the turnaround for estate distribution is quick and easy.  The invaluable comes in with healthcare directives, which take the guesswork out of otherwise stressful decisions that put families at odds.  Having the peace of mind that you are following your loved one’s wishes helps keep family harmony.

We know just how important it is for families to have the peace of mind that comes with a plan.  There are, of course, people who think they don’t need a will, or who think that a will is something they can deal with later, when they have time.  Sometimes, life doesn’t give us time.  It was Francois Truffaut who said that “Life has a much greater imagination than we do,” and the unexpected can—and does—happen.  But you are not at the mercy of these kinds of accidents; you can take action and protect yourself and your family.

Families today come in all shapes and sizes.  There are many people who live basically-married, who might have a friend they consider closer than family.  Leave a legacy that you can be proud of; keep the harmony in your family with a well-designed plan.

We know that talking about death might feel uncomfortable, and many of our clients have felt the same way.  After they meet with us, however, they found that we make it easy, and they’re much more at ease.  If you’ve been putting off this conversation, don’t wait.  Call us today at 970-879-1572.

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