Death is big business. And it is a most unpleasant enterprise. It is one with which we will all engage at some point in the future. Because we don’t like to look at it square in the face, we tend to meet it unprepared.
Hollywood culture is a microcosm of the American “can-do” spirit. The lie we tell ourselves is if we can throw enough money and effort and faith at the problem, we can put off our appointment with the Reaper indefinitely. But the sad truth is that while we can sometimes postpone it, we can never cancel it. One way or the other, the check comes due.
And that’s okay. Play the game with all the gusto you have. Maybe you will be the one to beat it. In the meantime, there is a little practical prep that you can do. That prep has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the people you leave behind. Funerals are not for the mourned, but for the mourners. Wills are not for the dearly departed, but for the dearly remaining. Life insurance is for the ones who still have life. And estate planning is the place where it all begins. Here’s what you need to know:
A Will May Not Be Enough
From the post entitled, “Estate Planning Attorneys San Diego,”
Avoid Probate with responsible estate planning. Most people think that all they need is a Will and to designate beneficiaries to make sure their property passes to their heirs when they die. Most of those people could not be more wrong! A Will does not avoid Probate!
Because of all the wealth that changes hands and is passed down from generation to generation, estate planning in southern California is a must. That said, you don’t have to be worth millions for estate planning to be worth it to you and your loved ones. There are also benefits for the one doing the estate planning. It ensures the management of your finances as well as your healthcare in the unfortunate event that you suffer incapacity.
Keep Your Personal Business Personal
If you don’t want people to know about certain things when you are alive such as your finances, why would you want any of that exposed afterward? There can be a lot of courtroom drama surrounding Probate, not to mention court interference.
In most states, Estate plans are more private than wills because they are not recorded. As private documents, your business stays your business. Check your state for more information as it can vary depending on where you live.
Privacy comes in many forms and is desirable for many reasons. Not everyone is comfortable having their exact net worth broadly known. For legacy purposes, there are also details about your life you might want to withhold from public knowledge. Darren Prince wrote a book detailing his story of hitting rock bottom with addiction. Not everyone is comfortable with that kind of information being available.
Remember, you are not just protecting your legacy, but the real lives of the people you leave behind. There are things that could be exposed in a will that would be more protected in a proper estate plan. You should be the one who decides what information is or is not available to others.
End of Life Decisions Should Be Made in Advance
The worst time to make end of life decisions is when you are no longer able to make them. You don’t want to trust your end of life decisions to an online tool. We can’t even trust elections to online tools. You also don’t want to leave such decisions to whichever loved one who happens to be in a hospital waiting room when a decision is required. Shock and grief are not conducive for clear-headed decisions.
You could find yourself in an emergency situation with no relatives around to make decisions on your behalf. If you do not want to be kept on life-support or have other measures taken to preserve your life, you need a living will which is a part of a proper estate plan. Such decisions belong to you, and you alone. No child should have to live with the guilt of wondering if they made the right decision. Advance planning ensures they will never have to face that moment.
While estate planning is largely about death, it will help you live a better life because you will not have to worry about what happens to your assets and whether they will benefit the people you want them to. You don’t have to worry about your business becoming headline news in the gossip rags. And you don’t have to worry about the end of life decisions you may not be able to make at the time. For these reasons and more, a comprehensive estate plan really is something you can’t afford to live without.