During this time of commercialism, chocolate hearts and mushy cards (eye-roll) there are actually many ways to meaningfully say “I love you.” With Valentine’s Day this week, most of us are thinking how to communicate these important words to our spouses, kids, family and friends. Although the best way to convey how we feel is usually just to say it and act with love on a daily basis, sometimes, especially when we are thinking about the future, it can be a little more complicated.
Estate planning is a very powerful statement of your love to your family. When completed thoughtfully, thoroughly and maintained, estate planning means your family and your friends won’t have to guess at your wishes. They won’t have to go through lengthy court processes, challenges with creditors, or be without an advocate when they are no longer here. While it can be stressful to think about life after your death, estate planning is critical t
o ensure the sorrow your loved ones feel is not compounded by crises that could have been avoided.
Want to really say “I love you?” Consider these five ways to say “I Love You” with estate planning:
1.Provide certainty. During difficult emotional times, it can be incredibly hard for your family members to make well-reasoned decisions. Take the burden of responsibility off their shoulders by making the tough choices now.
2.Solidify their future. Take steps now to limit the reach of tax burdens and creditors on your estate. Consulting financial, insurance, and tax advisors, to grow your assets and set guidelines in your estate plan. Make sure your assets will be maximized so that your children and even your grandchildren will be provided for and able to pursue their dreams just as you would have wanted.
3.Minimize the conflict. Limit the chances of arguments by making decisions and selecting decision makers now. This will allow your loved ones time to focus on dealing with grief instead of wasting time fighting over what your wishes might have been.
4.Take away the stress. Estate planning addresses the uncertainty that can come with aging, being unable to care for oneself, and end-of-life decision making, including even burial or cremation. To remain silent invites conflict, government involvement and nothing is more emotionally taxing than the burden of making a life or death decision for a loved one while unclear of their true intentions. You can alleviate the future potential stress of a loved one by making important decisions and wishes regarding your care and finances now.
5.Give them the peace to focus on what matters. Knowing you have taken care of everything from health care decision making and finances to taxes and wealth transfer strategies, will mean everything to your family when the planning you have put in place needs to be implemented. Giving them peace of mind when it matters most is one of the best ways to say “I love you” to your family and friends.
Remember, at the end of the day, estate planning is about protecting the ones you love and preserving their future.
Karin Foster, is a mother, and an estate planning attorney with the Foster Legal Advisory Group in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is passionate about educating others about estate planning and how it can be used to protect those you love. Subscribe to this blog or register for an upcoming FREE workshop to learn more.