Every year, we all have the best of intentions to whittle down our checklist – clean out the garage, purge our closet, reorganize the kitchen cabinets – you get the idea. But I read a recent survey by Caring.com reporting that while 3 out of 4 Americans believe having some sort of estate plan is important, less than half have taken the first step of having their will written. The two foremost reasons that respondents gave for not yet having a will are identical to the reasons hundreds of families have given to me over the last 20 years. Firstly, “We just haven’t gotten around to it, yet!” And then, “Do we even have enough to NEED an estate plan?”

Procrastination affects us all. (My hand is high in the air!) But it is never too early to begin your estate plan. Remember, it isn’t just about what happens if you or a loved one passes away. Are you ready if you were to become ill and needed an extended leave from work? Do you have a plan in place for your family if you became disabled and could no longer work at all? Sickness and tragedy afflict families around us every day. In those times of physical and emotional distress, eliminating the added burden of financial stress is a gift for which your family will be truly grateful.

And so many people ask, “Why would I need an estate plan? I don’t have that much!” Everyone has an estate, large and small. If you own a car, a house, furniture, if you have a bank account or a retirement account, if you have anything that you would like to pass down to the next generation, like jewelry or clothing or pictures or baseball cards, you have an estate. Your estate plan spells out for your family and anyone else (creditors and predators, too) what to do with that stuff, when and how to execute the plan, and to whom your “stuff” is distributed. It is YOUR plan. It is customized to your estate.

As we go into this new year and decade, we would be honored to help your family put a plan in place that protects both current and future generations. We have been helping families just like yours for over 20 years. Join us for one of our free in-house workshops to learn about options available in estate planning. When you attend one of our workshops, your initial consultation is free.

– Christopher W. Dumm