Estate Planning – real life notes on why you should do it now
Hi everyone, I’ve posted about estate planning before because it is such an important thing that many people, even preppers, don’t do. Estate planning not only protects your assets and makes sure they go to the right people, it protects your family from dealing with a difficult, complicated mess at the worst possible time. My husband just passed away and I wanted to share one takeaway from my experience. And that is: don’t put it off until you feel there’s a need. Estate planning can become more difficult to do, not less, as death approaches.
My husband was diagnosed with cancer over 5 years ago. At the time we were told it could be managed for a long time, but would eventually become resistant to treatment and terminal. (he never truly accepted that ) I had made him do a will and some basic estate planning before the diagnosis. A couple years I made him re-do everything (because it needed updating) and check beneficiaries on his accounts, etc. We consulted a lawyer on medical debt and what would happen to it after he passed. He hated doing all of it, but he did it.
This past year, the cancer became more and more resistant to treatment. He fought the whole time. He held out hope that something would work, even as that possibility became more and more unrealistic. In the last couple of months, I would have wanted to tie up loose ends – close a couple stray accounts that he had recently opened, transfer the ownership of a car (he was on the title but it was his son’s car). But I didn’t bring it up. He was facing mortality, and fighting every step of the way. It’s the most difficult thing anyone can face, and it wasn’t worth the pain and conflict it would cause to try to make him deal with small issues. So we have a couple random, small balance accounts that we are probably going to walk away from, and an uninsured car sitting in my driveway until we can all go to the DMV on the same day and deal with the paperwork. But I’m INCREDIBLY glad we dealt with the main issues years ago.
Anyway, that’s my takeaway – if you think it’s hard dealing with it now, it will only become harder later. Do it for yourself, and make your parents/spouse/etc do it as well.
Here’s a good general article. The only thing I would suggest is do #4 first!! Check the beneficiaries on all your bank accounts, retirement accounts etc first. It’s quick, free, and easy to do.