BOSTON (CBS) – Natural disasters happen! Catastrophes! Accidents! Illness!
No one gets out of this world alive, but we can plan to make it easier on those we leave behind. If you have accumulated assets or you have minor children you need to do some estate planning. The more complicated your life the more complicated your planning needs to be.
Experts estimate that less than 35% of individuals have wills. This is one thing people procrastinate about, especially parents with young children.
These parents are focused on the safety issues around their home to keep the kids safe but have not done any estate planning to keep the kids safe if something should happen to them.
At the very least, you need a will naming guardians for your children if something should happen to you and your spouse.
Without a will you are leaving behind a messy situation to be handle by whoever the court appoints. And if there is life insurance involved I can guarantee even your cousin Vinny will offer to take the kids.
You could create a trust for your children when they are minors so there is something in place to handle the finances if you should die. And you would name someone in the will to act as trustee.
Most parents put off this process because they just don’t know who to name as guardian for their kids. And often we think if we don’t talk about dying, it won’t happen! Life is complex and with blended families the decisions as to who will raise the kids if you are not around gets complicated.
Best choice, an adult sibling, cousin or a friend who lives nearby but that is not always possible. Talk to family members and friends about who you would like to raise your kids.
Grandparents may not be a good choice simply because of their age, but if they are young then ask them.
Of course, life will go on if you don’t do estate planning, but with a little planning on your part, you can make things easier for those you leave behind if something should happen to you.