Q. My husband and I have careers that will never lead to any significant wealth, so we do not have any formal estate plan. We lead a simple, healthy lifestyle, have no children, and are in our marriage for the long haul. A formal plan doesn’t seem our style. Won't our will, and our end-of-life intentions shared between us, suffice?
A staggering 70% of Americans die every day without a formal estate plan, leaving families and loved ones to wrangle over decisions made on their behalf. It is perfectly understandable to want to avoid thinking about one's own demise, however, it's important to consider the very real consequences of not having a plan.
The estate plan directs to whom, when and how everything you own, up to and including life insurance, will be distributed. It also appoints people you trust to handle your financial and healthcare decisions, avoiding often heart-wrenching conflicts, delays and additional expense upon your death or incapacity.
The health care and financial powers of attorney allow you to appoint people you trust to make healthcare and financial decisions upon incapacity. The Living Will states your desire to not be kept alive by using extraordinary measures if you are so far gone there is no hope for your recovery.
In conclusion, there are very undesirable consequences of not having an estate plan that you must consider. If you don’t state your intentions formally, someone else will make these decisions for you and you may not like the outcome
Alexandra Breed can be reached at [email protected]
Know the Law is a bi-weekly column sponsored by The McLane Law Firm.