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Is it Your Estate Plan or the Plan Chosen for You?

One of the most enjoyable parts of my practice is the opportunity to work with people creating an estate plan. As we discuss the issues that matter most to them, and tailor a plan to address those issues, they often express the peace of mind this process provides.

Much more difficult to address are the unexpected crises when no plan is in place. For example, when a spouse unexpectedly passes, it is simply not correct to assume that everything will automatically go to the surviving spouse.

Anyone can understand how difficult it must be to bury a spouse; and deal with all the accompanying emotions and personal issues. That burden is unnecessarily compounded when the surviving spouse is left alone and unprepared to navigate the world of probate or estate administration.

We can help the surviving spouse through that process. However, it is important to understand how different the experience is for someone who has prepared an estate plan. It is difficult enough to sit with a frightened and recently widowed spouse, trying to deal with a dramatic change in the life he/she knew. It is much more difficult when I must give answers the surviving spouse does not want to hear. The answers could have been entirely different with an estate plan created to address what mattered most to them.

Much more difficult to address are the unexpected crises when no plan is in place.

In too many cases, we are in those circumstances because the deceased spouse did not want to talk about what would happen when one of them passes. However, “doing nothing” is its own estate plan. It is the estate plan chosen for you when you choose not to plan when you can.

Do not let this happen to you or your spouse. Come to a free presentation and learn about the issues that you and your spouse should be discussing to avoid unnecessary challenges.

Steve Wright is a local attorney who provides free, no obligation estate planning and elder law presentations. The option to join by Zoom is available for all our presentations