Why do so many people understand the need for creating an estate plan, yet so few of them ever carry it out? The answer isn’t that people refuse to do it because they are lazy, uneducated, or uninformed, but rather because estate planning is itself a difficult proposition to face. The questions you have to ask yourself during the estate planning process can be incredibly uncomfortable and even depressing. Introspection and coming to grips with your own mortality can be a daunting challenge, but there are questions you need to ask yourself before you begin estate planning.
Question 1: What have you not revealed?
Married couples can hide a lot from one another. Whether it’s details about your finances, personal health issues, estranged family members, or even children from a previous relationship, creating an estate plan will often require you to both confront these questions, as well as reveal information to your attorney and potentially your spouse. Though this is often incredibly difficult, you can always be assured that whatever you say to your attorney will be held in confidence, and you should always feel free to speak openly.
Question 2: What if you and your spouse die suddenly?
This question is especially important to parents with young children. If you and your spouse should suddenly die your children will have to be taken care of by someone else. Who takes on the role of parenting after you’re gone is a decision you, as a parent, get to make. However, you must do so through legally recognized means. If you don’t, the decision will fall to a court, and that court may choose someone of whom you would never have approved.