Last week I worked with a terminally ill client. He was so ill that he barely made it into the office and was lacking in energy to get through the process effectively. The best I could do was to set up stop gap estate planning giving him just the bare bones.
The trouble with thinking that this would be OK is that it is not. We barely covered what needed doing and he could not put his assets into a trust. He will have very little control over his assets, will not be able to guarantee bloodline distribution and his estate will likely still go through probate. It won’t be a pretty probate process either.
Waiting it Out: Estate Planning Woes
When someone waits until the end, attention to detail is sacrificed. There is not adequate time to review bank accounts, investments, retirement savings, Social Security, insurance policies, and other tangible assets. When clients rush, they miss key details and may miss gifting to the correct persons.
To put it bluntly, the process of estate planning is all about deciding how to manage your property when you are dead and gone. Your entire estate plan should include, end of life decisions, a living will (or patient advocate designation), trusts, power of attorney for personal business matters and much more. The smallest mistake or oversight can lead to trouble. Trouble that you are not present to prevent. Trouble, where you will be unable to indicate what you desire. That means what you desire will likely remain unfulfilled.
Clients will often ask me, what is the right age to do an estate plan. The answer is simple. It’s the age you are right now! After all, even an 18-year old will have assets that they may wish to pass on. So don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today.
If you want to know more about estate planning, and how to execute it correctly, please contact my office to set up your initial consultation.