The words “estate planning” can evoke a wide variety of reactions. To some folks, the words are an unpleasant reminder of death’s inevitability, triggering anxiety and the all too understandable tendency to avoid the subject altogether. To others, those of a perhaps more sanguine disposition, the subject might merit consideration but only by “people with money”; i.e., not them. Still others, who have taken prudence to heart and already made a will, the subject may evoke an attitude of “been there, done that” and be of no further concern. All of these attitudes, while understandable, are shortsighted at best and could leave your loved ones in a very undesirable position should you die unexpectedly.
Any professional estate planner can recite for you the importance of having such a plan and the reasons for updating it every few years. In our experience, however, most people prefer to form their own conclusions after a period of self-reflection rather than being told by some well-meaning professional as to what they ought to do. So, rather than our telling you how important an estate plan can be, we suggest you ask yourself just a few short questions on the subject by completing a brief questionnaire for that purpose. You can review the questionnaire on your own or, better yet, with your spouse or partner. As you consider your responses, we recommend you give some thought as to what you would want your loved ones to do in the event you are no longer with them and what you need to do now in order to prepare them for such a possibility.