Maria has a small child, a daughter named Alyssa. Lionel is an unmarried business owner. Simon is a college student with few possessions or debts. They all have something in common: they don’t have estate plans. In fact, when asked why they don’t have Wills, they all engage in the same estate planning excuses. They don’t know, yet, that there are ways to overcome those excuses.
This one is tough. Maybe the best way to overcome the fear of death is to imagine what might happen to your family after you pass away. Consider this scenario:
Maria passes away unexpectedly. Because she did not sign a Will naming a guardian her family don’t know what to do with Alyssa. In addition, someone has to become administrator of the estate and start sorting out Maria’s complicated financial affairs. Going to court is expensive, plus Maria’s family are fighting over her estate and her daughter. This could have been avoided had Maria overcome her fear of talking about death and just prepared an estate plan.
Being uncomfortable for a few minutes may mean a better future for your family.
Many estate plans are relatively straightforward to set up. Even if they aren’t, consulting with a lawyer about your estate planning should only take a few hours. Maybe you can overcome this excuse by imagining what will happen if you don’t have an estate plan:
Lionel suffers a stroke and becomes incapacitated. He is no longer able to run his businesses the way he has in the past. He is unmarried, so there is no spouse to take over his personal financial affairs. No one knows how to handle Lionel’s business interests. Family, friends, and business associates all engage attorneys and go to court.
Taking a few hours to prepare an estate plan now could save your family and friends from spending many frustrating hours in attorneys’ offices and courtrooms.
If you own anything, it will have to go somewhere if you pass away. Estate planning also deals with incapacity, though. Even if you don’t own very much, your personal financial affairs and medical decisions will have to be made by someone if you are no longer able to make them yourself.
Simon ignored his parents when they asked him to prepare an estate plan. In his senior year, he sustained serious head injuries in a car accident. No one was specified as his personal representative to handle his financial affairs and medical decisions. His parents had to leave his hospital room to meet with an attorney about their options. After Simon passed away, his parents had to administer his estate. Simon’s girlfriend claimed he intended her to have most of the property located in their apartment, along with his car. However, she had nothing in writing to back up her claims.
Even a simple estate plan would have helped Simon’s parents and his girlfriend. His estate passed according to Florida intestacy law.
John Mangan is an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, who has been board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates by the Florida Bar. Call Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A. at 772-324-9050 to set up an appointment or use our online Contact Form.