If you are getting together with your family members this holiday season it may not seem like a great time to talk about dying, but actually it is! Hollywood has combined death and holidays for years. Well, truth be told, Dickens started it.
A Christmas Carol is a look at the world without Scrooge, and the effect he had on people’s lives. But Dickens isn’t the only one. “It’s a Wonderful Life” focuses on George Bailey – and how his family and town would have fared without him.
You may not want to think about the world without you in it. It isn’t a pleasant thought, but the moral of these stories is that you can do something about your legacy now. You can be the kind of person who makes a difference in the world.
You can make a difference for your family by doing your estate planning. There is no reason to put it off. You can do it now. You never know what the future will bring, and we don’t usually get the benefit of a Christmas ghost to warn us of the inevitable. A Will or Trust can ensure that you have done all you can to take care of your family, even when you are not around.
Think about a gift for yourself and your family that will last beyond your lifetime. That is the gift of Estate Planning. The term Estate Planning sounds stuffy. Visions appear of a man in a velvet smoking jacket and a martini in his hand. “Dah-ling,” the man says to his wife, “we just must get our Estate Planning in order.” Bah humbug!
We all like to believe that we have great memories, and that we remember everything. Trouble is we don’t all remember things the same way. Go home and ask your family members tonight about the memory of a mutual experience to see who remembers what. We have all had conversations, (or disagreements, maybe even verbal altercations) about memory differences. Try it – if you’re in the mood for a small battle.
Corporate consultants, psychologists and relationship experts are always touting the value of communication. Is it better for you to write down what you want for your money, house, 401K, and family members, or do you feel comfortable relying on what “Aunt Sophie” think she remembers you saying?
The truth is, though, that it doesn’t matter what you said during your life. It only matters what you put into your Will or Trust. Without a Will or a Trust, your estate plan is already set – it’s in the Probate Act. One size fits all. The words you spoke during life don’t mean anything in the law because there is no way to bring you back to settle the arguments about what you said.
Give yourself a gift this year – a little peace of mind – get your estate planning completed. We are here to walk you through it. You already know that you want to provide for your family. Don’t leave it to the State to determine your estate plan. Communicate your wishes clearly through an Estate Plan, and bring on the New Year!
Co-written by our receptionist Amy Grimse & Kevin Drendel
For more articles on estate planning topics, see the Fox Valley Estate Planning Blog. For articles related to family law matters, visit Drendel & Jansons Family Law Blog. For additional articles on various topics of law, visit the general Drendel & Jansons Law Group Blog. For various legal resources, visit the Drendel & Jansons Resource Page.
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