Estate planning is an act of love.
You love your family.
You know love is not only a feeling.
Love requires work.
According to a recent Lockport Journal article titled “Senior Spotlight: Composing the ‘family love letter’,” proper and thoughtful estate planning is an act of love.
An estate plan is not merely about accumulated assets.
Estate planning allows you to protect everyone you love and everything you have.
How do you do this well?
You should work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that all of your legal documents are in order to ensure that order and not chaos will result should you become incapacitated or die.
These documents include a power of attorney (financial and health care), advance health care directives, a last will and testament, and any other documents necessary for your specific circumstances. For example, a revocable living trust.
You should also discuss your wishes and your plans with your loved ones.
Death is a hard topic, but explaining your reasons and motivations for what you have done - and why - can help bring a sense of peace.
Without having these discussions, your loves ones may become distrustful and lasting conflict will follow.
What if you cannot get your family members together to discuss your wishes at one time?
This is where writing your family a love letter can be beneficial.
In this letter you can explain the “why” behind your estate plan as well as where to access pertinent information.
By compiling everything in an organized notebook, you will make things simple for your family.
What should you include in your notebook?
You should include important contacts and how to reach them, especially your CPA, estate planning attorney, financial advisor, insurance broker, or health care providers.
You should include information on frequent flier miles or credit cards.
You should include information regarding your insurance, employment, or retirement benefits.
You should also include any estate planning or legal status documents.
Organizing these are an act of love.
If you have not revisited your estate plan in years, reviewing and updating is an act of love.
In short, proper estate planning is an embodiment of love.
Reference: Lockport Journal (February 16, 2019) “Senior Spotlight: Composing the ‘family love letter’”