There is great truth to the saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In fact, when it comes to estate planning, an ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure. When a crisis arises for you or your loved ones, if there has been no preparation, there may not be a cure.
In the world of estate planning, a crisis can arise suddenly and unexpectedly in many ways. An obvious example is the unexpected passing of a loved one. Other examples include a stroke, a serious fall or the diagnosis of a life altering health condition. At that point, important options may evaporate.
When clients come to us in a crisis, we do everything we can to assist in a cost-effective and compassionate way. However, there are usually far fewer options available at that point. Also, those options are typically more costly because they require immediate and dramatic action. However, a crisis can potentially be avoided, or at least minimized, by understanding and implementing a few basic concepts before the crisis arises.
It is not at all true that estate planning must be expensive or complicated. Nevertheless, proper estate planning should ask questions that may be thought-provoking. For example, what will happen if one spouse becomes disabled and the other is unable to provide the necessary care? What will happen when the first spouse passes, especially if the survivor is significantly incapacitated? How can spouses (or a surviving spouse) ensure the estate they spent a lifetime building is properly used after they are gone? These are not necessarily easy questions to consider or discuss.
However, it is your willingness to address challenging questions, before the issues arise, that will allow for solutions. Many times, we can find solutions people did not even know existed. Unfortunately, those solutions often disappear once the problem arises.