Estate planning is one of those things we just don’t want to think about. Stephanie Freeman, Esq. explains why you should do it while you are healthy and sane, and sooner than later.
Just like taking out a life insurance policy isn’t for you (it’s for your beneficiaries), so the same goes for estate planning (though it is for your peace of mind).
What goes into an estate plan?
There are several documents that can be part of an estate plan. Each one has its own purpose. Stephanie Freeman, Esq. explains the various documents involved in this episode, but just a few of them are a Will (to tell the executor or administrator what should go to who), a power of attorney (POA, so that if you can’t make decisions for yourself you know who will be making said decisions), and a Living Will or Advanced Medical Surgical Directives (to make known what you would like your medical care to be).
There are a lot of decisions that go into creating these documents and these decisions require some thought, which is why it’s wise to create these documents long before they are needed.
Here’s the thing, no one wants to sit and think about what would happen if…, but what if you were at a grocery store and a crazy person opened fire? (True story on the news in Boulder today.) Wouldn’t you be relieved that you designated someone you love and trust to take care of your dog or your children (if you have kids)?
What if your “estate” is nothing to brag about?
As it turns out, most people don’t have a bounty worthy of writing about in the local paper. They’re just the average Joe or Jane like you and me. Some don’t own their home, some live paycheck to paycheck.
But what they have are sentimental items – like nana’s china set or mom’s jewelry. When you create your estate plan you get to say who will inherit your prized possessions (even if you’re the only one who deems them so).
Without a will and you making your desires known, your belongings could end up in probate where the court decides who gets what and your loved ones create animosity by fighting over your favorite reading chair. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!)
My favorite part about estate planning?
You might think this is kinda nutty, but my favorite part about estate planning, is that you get to leave a legacy. You can designate your car is sold and the proceeds go to a charity of your choice. Isn’t that the coolest?! You can leave the world a little bit better than you found it!
I always find that there are way more organizations I want to support than I realistically can. So I was intrigued to learn that estate planning wasn’t all sittin’ around being negative Nelly.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”Chinese Proverb
Doing your estate planning before you need it, means you get to relax in the event you ever do. It means you don’t have to scramble making important decisions when you have too many other things on your mind or maybe those decisions won’t be up to you at all.
What I learned about estate planning in this conversation.
That nothing is written in stone. If you have a life-changing event, like winning the lottery, you can modify your estate planning documents to reflect your new situation.
That you can take your time and think about what you want, and who you want taking care of the people, animals, and things that mean most to you. It’s the ultimate form of self-care.
Highlights from the episode and a link to the whole episode are below.
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
- 2:43 Stephanie’s experience with AVM.
- 5:38 Legal documents that are part of an estate plan.
- 9:44 What if you have a small estate?
- 14:14 The joy of leaving a legacy.
- 16:16 The difference between a will and a living will.
- 18:25 Taking the fear out of estate planning.
- 20:45 What is probate?
- 26:14 No surprises left behind.
- 27:32 The benefits of having help from an attorney.
- 41:16 Creating an estate plan as a form of self-care.
- 43:00 Get in touch with Stephanie!
Links mentioned in today’s podcast:
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