5 Excuses That Can Devour Your Estate & Destroy Your Family

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It’s a bright sunny day and you just met with a warm, seasoned California Estate Planning Attorney.  From the moment you called Parrish Law, you knew you were in good hands.  The receptionist was friendly.  The paralegal was well informed and helpful.  Most importantly, you were determined.  You were sick ‘n tired of procrastinating about estate planning.  It feels silly now.  There’s nothing you want more than to protect your family and everything you’ve worked so hard for over the years.  You looked the paralegal square in the eyes, took a deep breath, and said, “Yes, this Friday at 2pm will work just fine for a meeting with the estate planning attorney.”

When you arrived 15 minutes early to fill out some paperwork, you were as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.  Your palms were sweating, but you knew you were in the right place to find a solution to calm your fears.  Too many questions had gone unanswered for far too long, and you were wise enough to know that time is of the essence.  Life is but a vapor – here today and gone tomorrow – and your ducks weren’t in a row.  As a matter of fact, they were waddling all over the place beyond your reach.  You needed guidance and direction…and you needed it now.

The attractive California estate planning attorney jogged you back to the present with a nice firm handshake.  A short time later you discovered that you were right to feel fearful about leaving your affairs in disarray.  Ultimately, the lack of estate planning could devour your estate and destroy your family.  Not only would they experience unnecessary expense, the debilitating stress upon the death or disability of a family member would seem insurmountable.  You decided, “Enough! The buck stops here.”

The moment the ink dried on the estate planning contract, you felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off your shoulders… and it has.  You’re no longer in it alone.

Just that quick, it is possible to have the estate planning support you need from an expert.  Even better, you will no longer feel guilty over acting irresponsibly.  The nerves and anxiety will dissipate.  You will feel large and in charge, yet peaceful.  You can rest assured that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure a safe, secure tomorrow for your loved ones.

Life is good – really good…and it will be in the future as well.  You can experience this too, if only you don’t believe these 5 (lame) excuses.

Excuse #1 – I don’t own much so I don’t need an Estate Plan.

The big orange dome on a gift shop in Kissimmee, Florida has earned its place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest orange in the world”.  It is also the center of a crazy chase in the movie “Marvin’s Room” with Meryl Streep and a valuable landmark to licensed pilots who fly small planes overhead.  It’s a critical part of their safe passage.  Yet, it’s just another brightly colored over-sized roof to residents who are used to seeing it as they travel back and forth to work each day.

The moral of the story:  We get used to seeing stuff and no longer think it has much value. Don’t be deceived!  When it comes to estate planning, size is irrelevant.  Even individuals with smaller estates need important documents to protect themselves, their family, and their possessions ~ especially a durable power of attorney and medical directives.

It’s fairly common knowledge that a will, well-written by an attorney, protects your estate after you pass on to greener pastures.  A durable power of attorney and medical directives protect you while you’re still alive and kickin’!  I don’t know about you, but I like that idea.  Life happens.  Things don’t always go as planned.  Actually, they rarely do.  Should the worst happen (God forbid), a power of attorney allows you to appoint someone that you trust to step in and take charge over your affairs (financial and otherwise)  if and when you ever become incapacitated.

Professionals call this person your “attorney-in-fact”; a pretty powerful role.  If there is no durable power of attorney, your family will be at the mercy of the court who will gladly take their good ole time making important decisions for you for a fee.  Furthermore, the court knows nothing about little Johnny or Jimmy, so the best they can do is make an educated guess about who to appoint as a conservator or guardian.  Don’t be surprised if it’s not your first choice!  To add insult to injury, once that person is in place, any steps he or she may need to take on your behalf can only occur with permission by the court.  Chuh-Ching! Time = Money = Stress!

Had you not fallen prey to Excuse #1 and handled this small task yourself, a person you love and trust would be free to take important steps on your behalf immediately if something bad happened and you were no longer in a position to manage your affairs.  There would be no irritating red tape or unnecessary delays, hassles, and expenses.  It’s a beautiful thing.

By now, you’re beginning to see you need a durable power of attorney.  You’ll even have the option of setting it up in one of two ways.  It can take effect immediately with the understanding that it will not be used unless you become incapacitated, or it can be written so that it’s not effective until you’re actually incapacitated.  If you opt for the latter, it will be very important that you clearly define “incapacitated.”

Concerns about creating a power of attorney are common.  I’ve heard them all over the past 25 years…

  • What if the person I choose doesn’t handle things the way I like?
  • Will I lose all my rights if I create one?
  • What if I don’t have anyone in my life right now that I trust enough to act in my behalf?
  • What if I think Janie’s the perfect person for the job and then I change my mind?

Please allow me to assure you that any concerns you might have at the moment about creating a power of attorney will be offset many times over by having one should the day ever come that you need it.  I’ll be more than happy to share my thoughts about each concern during a free consultation, since you no longer believe Excuse #1.

One Response to 5 Excuses That Can Devour Your Estate & Destroy Your Family
  1. [...] Note:  This is Excuse #2 of 5 in our important series, “5 Excuses that can Devour Your Estate & Destroy Your Family”.  To read Excuse #1, click here. [...]

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