Mark failed to plan and it cost his family time, money, and anguish during his decline and after he was gone. He didn’t realize that his wife didn’t have the power to make decisions for him without going to court and that she didn’t just automatically get it all.
A short summary of the definitions is estate planning is arranging for the management and distribution of your stuff
- During your lifetime if you can’t manage it yourself
- After your lifetime
If you dig down to the core of the definition, it is about control and freedom to choose. You get to decide now, while you can, who will be in control if you can’t be. You get to control who gets your stuff, when, how much, and how.
With control, you can protect yourself and your family. Without control, you have decided the state knows what is best for you and your family.
With a plan, you maintain your freedom to choose who will be in charge if you can’t be. You keep your freedom to choose who gets your stuff, when, how, and how much. If you don’t have a plan, then you are giving up your freedom to choose and are giving control of decisions to the state government.
Another way to look at estate planning is insurance. Just like you have insurance for your home and auto, shouldn’t you have insurance for your future. Insurance that protects your freedom of choice and control.
If you don’t make these decisions now in a plan, then who do you think can make them?
If you didn’t answer the state under a judge’s supervision, then you are probably wrong.
When somebody can’t make sound, rational decisions, and there isn’t a power of attorney in place, then the family must go to court and get the authority to make the decisions and to sign paperwork. And, that is why planning is important. If you don’t plan, then the state steps in to tell your family what decisions they can make and a judge gets to supervise it all.