Young families face different estate planning needs and challenges than those who have had a long life behind them. While established families may be concerned about what will happen to their family when they pass on, young, growing families can be more focused on what is happening to their family in the present. And you even may find it hard to justify planning for an “estate” you haven’t yet established!
But here’s the thing … if you have children, or anyone else you care about, you may not think you have an “estate”, but you do need estate planning. If you want to ensure your loved ones wouldn’t be stuck in Court and/or conflict if anything happens to you, the only way to do this is to document a plan.
Here are a few estate-planning issues important for young couples to consider as soon as they start a family:
The Care and Custody of Your Children
If you die or become incapacitated before your children reach 18, they...
In the weeks before her death from ovarian cancer, author Amy Krouse Rosenthal gave her husband Jason one of the most treasured gifts a person could receive.
She penned the touching essay “You May Want to Marry My Husband” in the New York Times as a final love letter to him. The essay took the form of a heart-wrenching yet-humorous dating profile that encouraged him to begin dating again once she was gone. In her opening description of Jason, she writes:
“He is an easy man to fall in love with. I did it in one day.”
What followed was an intimate list of attributes and anecdotes, highlighting what she loved most about Jason. It reads like a love story, encompassing 26 years of marriage, three grown children, and a bond that will last forever. She finished the essay on Valentine’s Day, concluding with:
“The most genuine, non-vase-oriented gift I can hope for is that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.”
How often do you wish you knew more about your family? When we’re young, we don’t necessarily pay attention to the stories our elders tell us. Later in life, we often become interested in knowing who and where we come from.
We want to learn more about what makes us who we are, and we may even become interested in genealogy. This has definitely been something I have focused on more this last year and started an ancestry tree. Unfortunately, for many people, the resources that were there when we were younger have become faded memories and the people who could fill us in have already passed on. There are definitely things I wish I could ask my grandmother or grandfather.
A common life lesson is to take large tasks and break them into smaller parts to make them achievable. This is the thought process behind my 2021 Legacy Journal Challenge. In my Legacy Planning + Productivity for Moms Facebook Groups, we are enjoying journaling...
If you are engaged to be married, divorce is probably the last thing you and your fiancé want to be thinking about. Yet you might be rightfully concerned about what would happen to your assets should your marriage end in divorce or in the event of your death. One option you might be considering for protecting your assets from these events is a prenuptial agreement.
However, even bringing up a prenup can be a romance killer that creates friction and distrust before the marriage even begins. And if it’s not properly created and executed, a divorce court can invalidate the asset protections offered by a prenup, so such agreements don’t exactly provide airtight protection.
Plus, a prenup would do nothing to keep your family out of court and out of conflict should you become incapacitated or when you die, which is something everyone who gets married needs to consider.
That said, prenups aren’t your only option. With proactive estate planning, for example, you can...
If you’re counting down the days to your wedding, divorce is probably the last thing you and your fiancé want to be thinking about, and yet you might be rightfully concerned about what would happen to your assets in the event of a divorce—or your death. You may also be worried that suggesting a prenuptial agreement could hurt your future spouse by making them feel as if you don’t trust them, thereby creating friction before the marriage even begins.
While such concerns are valid, you should know that prenups aren’t your only option for shielding your assets from these scenarios. With a well-designed estate plan, for example, you can structure your assets in such a way to keep what you have safe, provide for your future spouse in the event of your death, and also protect your assets in the event of a divorce. In this way, you can avoid having the prenup conversation all together.
I do recommend talking with your future spouse about your...
Unlike many estate assets, if you’re looking to collect the proceeds of a life insurance policy, the process is fairly simple provided you’re named as the beneficiary. That said, following a loved one’s death, the whole world can feel like it’s falling apart, and it’s helpful to know exactly what steps need to be taken to access the insurance funds as quickly and easily as possible during this trying time.
And if you’ve been dependent on the deceased for regular financial support and/or are responsible for paying funeral expenses, the need to access insurance proceeds can sometimes be downright urgent.
Here, we’ve outlined the typical procedure for claiming and collecting life insurance proceeds, along with discussing how beneficiaries can deal with common hiccups in the process. However, because all life insurance policies are different and some involve more complexities than others, it’s always a good idea to consult with a Personal...
Maybe you, like many of us, have been raised to think that the safest way to live in the working world is to have a "good career" and a steady paycheck. This financial crisis is challenging that framework for many people. Even if you had a steady job, and even if you still have one, by now you’ve learned how easy it is for that security to disappear overnight. You are not owed a job by your employer no matter how hard you work.
A recession can reveal all of our negative thoughts and internal monologues about money. A sad, yet common, attitude is for us to see money as a scarce resource, and income as something that’s outside of our control. Thinking or talking about money can trigger feelings of guilt and shame in many people.
It doesn’t have to be that way! The truth is, money is a tool that you can access and multiply, independent of anyone else’s permission. The society of capitalism want you to believe there is only so much pie and you...
Want to know a proven way to live a more fulfilling life?
All you have to do is fully accept the fact that one day you’re going to die.
“I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.” -Upajjhatthana Sutta
The unavoidable nature of death is a basic tenet found in every religion. Indeed, the acceptance of death is so important in Buddhism that “impermanence,” or the fact that everything born eventually dies, is at the top of the Buddha’s list of the three universal characteristics of existence.
Before religious practice, Tibetan Buddhists chant, “The whole world and its inhabitants are impermanent. The life of human beings is like a bubble. Death comes without warning; this body too will be a corpse.”
Such teachings may seem morbid, but they’re actually designed to awaken you from denial and inspire you to fully appreciate life because you never know when it will end.
“How sad it is that most of us only begin to...
There’s nothing like a major change in the economic climate to make you rethink your day job. “Business as usual” currently means a large element of uncertainty about what the future holds for your working life. Whether you've lost your job, had your hours cut, or have seen these things happen to people you know, your feeling of security has likely taken a hit. And, maybe that can be a good thing, something that calls you to start taking action. Maybe it is as simple as feeling you've had a wakeup call to a different way of living.
Now is the perfect time for you to look at all the resources available to you, and to consider what you can do to serve the world with under-utilized gifts, skills, and talents. By doing this, you have the potential to take full control over your income, and your family’s long-term security.
You also may have noticed a growing trend that existed even before the coronavirus pandemic hit—more and more people are opting...
The pandemic is causing us to consider a lot of things that we may not have before, even if maybe we should have.
It brings to mind something a colleague of mine shared a while back. One unremarkable weekend, she left her small children with a babysitter and headed out to enjoy dinner at a restaurant with her husband. But as she sat there, a thought crept into her head that she couldn’t let go.
What would happen to her kids, she thought, if she and her husband got into a car accident on the way home? If you have talked with me for any length of time, I have probably shared this story with you. It was a conversation with this particular colleague that changed my entire perspective on my estate planning practice. It also made me feel I had failed to truly plan for my own kids.
And even though my colleague is an estate planning lawyer herself, and she had a will at home naming guardians for her kids (as did I), she didn’t have a definite and clear...