There are many unknowns when planning for your family’s future, but you cannot let the uncertainties get in the way of creating any kind of plan. Having an imperfect plan is usually better than having no plan at all. No plan means more problems for your children or beneficiaries and leads to family discord.
When establishing your estate planning documents, you want to be able to consider all the angles, but there are inevitably a few “known unknowns” that can make planning difficult. These may include:
- How long you may live.
- How much money you will have left upon death, which can depend on longevity and potential need for long-term care.
- Your children’s health.
- Your children’s financial stability – now and perhaps many years into the future.
There are also value judgments to make. Should you treat all children equally, or should their financial situations be considered individually? In any family, some siblings can be successful, while other siblings may struggle. Some children may have supported you in your old age and others may be estranged from you. Unless you have had a discussion with your children, it may be wise to treat them equally in your estate plan. You can provide differential support during your life, but unequal distributions at death may create great difficulties if they come as a surprise. Should you create trusts that protect assets for your children and grandchildren, or simply provide that the funds be distributed outright upon your death for them to use as they wish? Whom should you appoint in various roles—as agent under powers of attorneys, as trustees, as personal representatives?
Not having definitive answers to these questions can make it difficult to finalize your plan. However, before you get overwhelmed and give up on estate planning altogether, you need to consider the following:
- Any plan is much better than no plan at all.
- We cannot predict the future, but must do the best we can based on what we know today.
- No plan is set in stone; you can make changes as circumstances change or if you rethink what you want to do or who to appoint in the future.
- As you age, it is important to review your plan every couple of years due to the possibility of changes in state laws and personal circumstances. Elder law power of attorneys are needed to help prepare and plan for long term care.
The best way to approach estate planning is to think through all of the questions you may have, and then create a tailored plan based on your current circumstances. Hegwood Law Group will help you talk through all of the options. Call us now at (281) 885-8826 or click here to schedule your strategy session.