A high school teacher who herself taught a class in personal finances once confessed that she did not have a will filed, did not know what would become of her house if she got sick, and wasn't really tracking her retirement funds.
The truth is, teachers spend so much time with other people's paperwork that they sometimes forget to get their own affairs in order.
Friends, even while we look out for others, we need to look out for ourselves.
Most people are aware of probate, but in a vaguely negative way - like seeing a car crash by the road. But much of estate planning is done to understand this final chapter in life, and to pass through the probate process in workable order.
What do you want?
First you have to know what you want to happen when you pass. This is what wills accomplish. They are not hard to set up. For most people, the reluctance to create a will is just part of life's healthy denial process. If you don't plan for it, maybe you'll never die, right?
Our experience is that wills are really helpful to people in establishing what their priorities are, who you care about, and what you want to have happen to the assets you accumulated in your time on earth.
Are they fun?
Not really. But they are so helpful in clarifying your goals, and saving your loved ones a lot of trouble and bewilderment. Most people experience a rush of relief.
After your will, you will want to think about avoiding the harsh aspects of probate. There are many legal devises you can avail yourself of:
- Setting up an irrevocable trust so your property passes to another party, skipping probate
- Creating a deed on your home so that it is co-owned with a loved one, again avoiding probate
- Passing life insurance proceeds directly to a named beneficiary
- Filing transfer-on-death or payable-on-death directions on your banking and investment accounts
These are just four possibilities you may want to explore. They sound complicated, but in fact they are not. Our office will do all the heavy lifting - but the peace of mind you achieve will be all yours.
Things to do
We can talk, too about how to name a friend or relative help you make decisions should you become incapacitated in any way.
You're a teacher. You know the value of simple explanations, and not putting things off. We invite you to give us a call to discuss a smooth path for your future.