Look out for your loved ones forever.
An estate plan expresses your wishes for what happens to your kids, your assets and yourself -- it typically includes a will, powers of attorney and / or trusts.
Not 100% certain about what your wishes are?
That’s totally fine. And normal.
Do not wait until you’re 100% certain to start -- that is a recipe for doing nothing, and that is often the worst outcome for the people you love most.
You rock just for being here -- keep the momentum going!
- Don't make your surviving relatives sort this out -- it will be hard enough if your kids are suddenly without parents
Don't assume your surviving family members will "play nicely together" -- the stress of losing a loved one can bring out extreme behavior
- You don’t want grandparents battling for guardianship or aunts and uncles fighting each other, each one believing that - if you were there - you’d agree with them...take charge of your family’s well-being and make your wishes known now
- Worried about offending a relative who will not be the guardian? Consider that you don’t have to tell them. You should tell the person(s) you do choose to confirm they’re willing and able, but there’s no requirement to tell people who were not chosen
- You know (better than a judge) which of your family members or friends would manage finances competently and ethically -- don't risk having a busy judge with limited information make the wrong call
- Keep strangers out of your family's finances -- avoid the bureaucracy of having a court-appointed financial guardian involved in the household expenses of raising your kids. Designate a person to manage the finances until your kids are old enough to do so. This person does not have to be the same person who is guardian of your kids -- you can select a trusted family member, friend, or a professional investment advisor (or, if you wish, choose two people to serve together...sometimes pairing a professional with a loved one is a good choice)
- There have been heart-breaking legal battles over which family member makes healthcare decisions in end-of-life situations...remove this burden from your loved ones by making your wishes known