If you’re one-half of a young couple with everything in the world to look forward to, you may think it absurd to start worrying about such things as creating a will or establishing guardianship of children. But the truth is that you can never make your estate planning arrangements too early – while it’s far easier to leave the matter too late. Here are some hypothetical instances to show you just how critical timely estate planning can be.
Example 1: Bob and Sue are the proud parents of two wonderful toddlers. Tragically, the young couple is taking a brief, routine trip across town when a drunk driver collides with their car, killing them both instantly. Since they never formally named a guardian for their kids, those guardianship rights become the focus of a massive squabble between the surviving grandparents and other relatives. Eventually, the court has to make an arbitrary decision which may or may not be right for the children.
Example 2: Let’s say Sue survived the crash mentioned above, but she’s incapacitated to the point that she can no longer make key decisions. Sadly, Bob and Sue never granted medical or financial power of attorney to the individuals they would want running their affairs. The state ends up designating these powers, quite possibly with results Sue never remotely wanted.
Example 3: Let’s say Bob put off creating a will until too late. Even if Sue is still alive and well, she and the kids will receive property and other assets according to a standard division, as decided by the legislature, instead of Sue managing those family assets herself.
Don’t assume you have time to make those estate plans. Play it safe by contacting an attorney to discuss your needs and goals.