Who Do You Love?
Updated: Oct 8
How do you tell a loved one to make an Estate Plan? Estate Planning is not the easiest topic to bring up, but it is also one of the most important conversations to have. To make it easier lets look closer at Estate Plans.
First, Let's look at some facts about Estate Planning in America today. According to Merrill Lynch less than 1 in 5 Americans over the age of 55 have made an Estate Plan. This statistic is only for those over 55 so it does not account how many younger people have not planned either.
There are endless horror stories about someone's mother, father, sibling, etc. who died without an Estate Plan and their families had no direction of what to do. Just ask a friend or neighbor if they have ever handled a relatives estate. So when do you need to make an Estate Plan and why spend the money on it now?
The best time to create an Estate Plan is now. It does not matter how old you are or if you are rich. This may not make sense because if you are young why would you need a plan, but the most important thing is for you to have Power's of Attorney in the case of incapacity. An Estate Plan is not just about a will and giving away your possessions when you die. A full Estate Plan creates a plan for you if you are injured, incapacitated, or die.
So how do you tell someone they need a plan?
The simplest way to discuss Estate Planning is if you are actively making a plan, or have made a plan in the past. If Estate Planning is at the forefront of your life it will seem normal and easy to bring it up to your kids, friends, or parents. If you are having a difficult time asking these questions normalize the conversation, you can share personal stories or find some examples online. There are a few stories here you can share as well!
As a Founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, Paige Arnof-Fenn founded her company and then lived this first hand caring for aging parents. She helped her family and serves as an example for others. Paige reflects, “I started a global branding and marketing firm 19 years ago in Cambridge, MA. For the first 5 years I was scared to go on vacation for fear all my hard work would unravel. Then my in-laws, father, mom and stepdad all started to get sick and I wanted to be there for them. They all lived thousands of miles away so I started to work less. After years of decline they each died about 6 months apart (7 people in 6 years) and I became executrix which is like having another job at times. Their estate plans ranged from none to a trust with 19 amendments so my close friends were all inspired to get their affairs in order as they saw my experience from the front row. I updated my own plans too as a result of what I learned in the process.”
David Reischer, Esq., Estate Planning Attorney and CEO of LegalAdvice.com, advises, “Many people are also under a misconception that drafting a will or setting up a trust is expensive. While it is true that setting up a complicated trust could be expensive, most estates are not that complicated and the average cost of planning for an estate after death will save the estate so much money in the long run that hiring an attorney for a couple of thousand dollars is actually very good value.”
Now is the time to share the information and encourage loved ones to build an Estate Plan.
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