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Eight Reasons Why Waiting for Someday is not a Good Legal Strategy

While the old adage of nothing being certain except for death and taxes is certainly true, no one among us really knows exactly how the end of our lives will look—or when such an end might come. 

Despite these kinds of uncertainties, however, there are some very important instructions and provisions we can put in place now to help make certain that our loved ones and anyone else involved in our end-of-life arrangements, decisions or determinations have clarity and direction. 

The legacy we leave includes our wishes and desires related to what we leave behind, our assets, our beliefs, our priorities and more. Assuming one or more of the following applies to you, you will want to explore estate planning and how an experienced estate planning attorney can work with you to create a sound plan for now into the future:

1. You have minor children

2. You have thoughts, opinions and preferences related to your end-of-life care

3. You have thoughts, opinions and preferences related to any potential situation in which healthcare decisions related to you have to be made 

4. You care deeply about supporting certain causes or organizations

5. You want to avoid at all costs family conflict arising from confusion or lack of clarity

6. You have a business you hope will outlive you and have definite ideas about how it should be run in your absence

7. You care about minimizing the time and money your loved ones need to spend settling your affairs 

8. You want to make sure that certain meaningful, important and/or valuable items of yours end up with people of your choosing upon your death

Estate planning is about much more than finances alone, and it’s important to dispel the myth that it’s only for the wealthy. Beyond that, it is not something that only elderly people should be concerned about. In fact, it’s usually recommended that you create an estate plan while you are still a relatively young adult, and you can revisit and update it throughout your life, as circumstances dictate. 

When you first meet with an estate planning attorney, be sure to ask them about the following to help determine which are applicable to your life right now:

  • Last will and testament
  • Trusts
  • Tax planning
  • Asset protection
  • Advance directives/healthcare directives
  • HIPAA authorization
  • Designations for beneficiaries and heirs
  • Power of attorney, including Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) and Healthcare Power of Attorney (Healthcare Proxy)
  • Business succession planning
  • And more

While it may feel uncomfortable or difficult to address some or even many of these issues now, it’s important to plan ahead so that you are able to have and also give clarity to those who matter to you. Taking some time to make decisions now can go a long way down the road toward peace of mind for everyone involved.