Few people want to think about illness, disability or premature death. But the time to plan for the worst is when you're hoping for the best. It's like throwing an umbrella in your bag on a sunny day. Make a plan to protect the people you love in case something happens to you or your partner.
These can be difficult subjects to think about. But taking time to detail your wishes now reduces the risk of others—grieving family members, state laws, the courts—having to make decisions for you some day.
Think about these important questions when planning for the "what-ifs":
- What if something happens to me or my partner? Who will care for our children? (Will, guardianship instructions)
- What if I lose my ability to think and make decisions? (Healthcare instructions, power of attorney, living will)
- What if no one knows the people and causes who should inherit my assets? (Will, trusts, letter of instruction)
- What if I can't take care of myself or others some day? (Life, disability and long-term care insurance)
- What if taxes claim most of my children's inheritance? (Trusts and other structures that protect assets)
It sounds complicated. And truthfully, it can be. Talk to a Financial Advisor and an attorney. They can help you clarify your last wishes and create a plan that honors them.