A couple of years ago I heard about a car accident in a nearby neighborhood. A Mom and Dad, and their 16-year-old daughter, were just leaving a local YMCA, about to turn into the main road at about 9pm on a weeknight. A 20-year-old gentleman was driving on that main road, at 90 miles an hour. He ran into this family’s van head on. He survived, the family didn’t. The rest of the family, two minor children, were at a relative’s house at the time.
This story haunts me. First of all, I have 3 minor children so it’s hard not to think about the “what if.” It also impacted me deeply because of the clients I serve. Many families tell me that certain “what if” scenarios would never happen. Like a parent surviving a minor child. Like an older spouse surviving a much younger spouse. Like an entire family dying in a common accident. When I hear about these types of car accidents, I know different. We do not have a crystal ball. We just have to plan for every scenario, no matter how unbelievable it may seem at the time.
Another story that has impacted me is the one that just happened earlier this year. It was in a Duck Boat in Branson, Missouri. This tragedy is even more troubling because me and my entire family of 16 people were on this very same Duck Boat in 2015. The boat was on the lake this past summer, when a horrendous storm came over. 13 people died, including 9 people from the same family. What a horrific event. There are no words.
Hug your family. Say, “I love you.” Often. And more importantly, plan. Many people sit in my office to tell me they are not ready to do an estate plan. No one is ever ready, sort of like being a parent for the first time. The important thing is, get it done, before it’s too late.
Getting an estate plan done is not as complicated as you would think. I know seeing a lawyer can be a stressful situation. Generally, if you are seeing a lawyer, you are either buying a house or going through a lawsuit or a divorce. All these scenarios are very complicated and stressful. However, when you come in to discuss your estate plan, it can be somewhat of a relief. We discuss your family, and your assets. We discuss a myriad of “what if” scenarios. We help and guide you to make decisions about what would happen in case you are disabled, and upon your death. Not fun topics, but certainly important to discuss. Then after about a month, we come back together, review all your documents, and sign the very same day. In one month, you can have the peace of mind that a solid estate plan can provide. You will have given the gift of ease and protection to your family and beneficiaries, that will impact them for the rest of their lives. The whole process does not take too long and is more affordable than you think.
Call and make an appointment to discuss your estate plan with an estate law lawyer in Rolling Meadows, IL who can explain the basic estate planning concepts so you are armed with the information needed to make good decisions for your family.
Thanks to Bott & Associates, Ltd. for their insight into estate planning and why to do it now.