On March 13th it will be time to “spring forward” with the change to Daylight Saving Time. While it’s no fun losing an hour of sleep, it is always a nice reminder that the long days of summer are coming soon.
I’d also like to remind you all that there are other ways to “spring forward” such as taking steps to protect your family. Now is the perfect time to make sure that your family will be taken care of should you unexpectedly pass away or become incapacitated.
A recent study showed that 55% of all adult Americans don’t have a will. This means that over half of all adults in the United States do not have a plan for their family if something unexpectedly happens to them. Unfortunately, the reasons for not doing a will are often based on misconceptions. Here are just a few:
1) “If something happens to me and my spouse, I’m sure my mother will be named as guardian to my kids.”
Many people are under the false assumption that they know who the court would select and who would step up and take responsibility of raising their children. This is a dangerous assumption to make. If you don’t have an estate plan with clear instructions for who should raise your children, it will be up to a judge who doesn’t know you or your kids or anyone in your family to make this choice. To you, your mother is clearly the best choice. But will the judge see it this way? Are you willing to bet your kids’ well-being on it?
2) “My family knows to “pull the plug” if there is no hope that I will recover from an injury or illness.”
Relying on your family knowing and sticking to your intentions is never recommended; especially if there are several family members who would have a strong opinion. Not having your intentions in a formal writing can result in several years of pain, mental anguish and costly legal proceedings for your family while you languish. All of this can be avoided by having a living will outlining what you require to happen regarding life-sustaining treatment in a life and death medical situation.
Last but not least…
3) “I don’t have enough assets to worry about estate planning.”
This is probably the most common misconception of all. People almost universally say that their estate is “simple” and they don’t need estate planning. It is important to understand that everyone, not just the wealthy, needs estate planning. Even so-called “simple” estates can get caught up in a probate process that would mean that your loved ones do not have access to family assets at a time when they need them most. Also, it is critical to understand that estate planning involves much more than just money and material things. It is about ensuring the security of your children’s future and it is about creating a legacy for them.
Are you guilty of believing one of these common misconceptions? If so, you are not alone. The important thing is that you gain as much knowledge as you can about this. If you live near one of our offices (in Marietta, Atlanta, Canton, Lawrenceville, Gainesville or Savannah), I invite you to call me at 770-421-0808 and schedule a free Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session with me. I will be happy to spend time talking to you about what misconceptions you may have about what will happen to your family if something happens to you, and what you can do about it.
Spring is coming. Time will soon enough change. This year, do more than set your clocks. Set your family's future in more certain hands.