2019 would be a great year to start and finish your estate plan, even if it is a basic one. It really does not take that much time, and your family and close friends will appreciate your doing this.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s recent article, “No financial plan is complete without a basic estate plan” reports that, while Americans are living longer, it was emphasized in a session at the American Society on Aging’s 2019 conference in New Orleans that 56% of Americans don’t have a will.
The basic list isn’t particularly daunting. Talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer to create a trust and will to get your affairs in order.
You should also sign a health care directive and a durable power of attorney. It is also important to decide where you want to be buried or cremated.
You should discuss your late-life goals and desires with your family, relatives and close friends. This gives everyone a better idea about your values and thinking. An estate plan makes things much less stressful on your family.
Many people want to leave at least some money to their loved ones. However, instead of waiting for death to pass on assets, more people are now deciding to “give while living.”
For example, grandparents can help to fund their grandchildren’s education expenses. Nearly two-thirds of people 50 years and older are giving some financial support to family members, according to a survey by the financial services firm Merrill Lynch and demographic consulting firm Age Wave.
Since you are already thinking about your life while devising an estate plan, it is important to understand that far more valuable than your money and assets is your accumulated experience, knowledge and skills. You can tap into your experience later in life to help others succeed. Your experience and judgment can help family members decide how to have both purpose and a paycheck.
Perhaps you can serve as a mentor for those in your community in areas where you have some expertise?
Your life has value, regardless of the size of your estate. Having an estate plan in place complements the legacy that you want to leave with your family members.
Reference: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (May 4, 2019) “No financial plan is complete without a basic estate plan”