October 6, 2023
It’s not something you want to contemplate, let alone discuss, but it does happen.
Have you talked about your children’s futures?
Who will care for your pets?
What about your digital assets?
If you don’t have a spouse, children, or pets, what charities do you want to benefit, or do you prefer to leave money for nieces and nephews or other family members?
Early death is just one of the many reasons to engage in estate planning early and to do so with a lawyer- the lawyer knows what questions to ask and is not afraid to ask them.
The lawyer is not going to do financial planning for you but is likely to raise that tough issue and make sure that you are talking to a qualified person on this touchy subject. It is especially important when you have dependent children or beloved pets – in addition to someone to care for them, money to support them is an important part of your estate plan. You probably won’t buy life insurance just to provide for pets, but a lawyer might suggest that you consider the question and talk to an insurance agent. That is why we call it estate planning, not just drafting a will.
The earlier that you buy insurance, generally, the cheaper it is, and you are more likely to medically qualify for the best coverage and lowest rates. If you need or want it- we are lawyers, not salespeople, and stay in our lane. It is just one of those tough things, like thinking about dying early, that you probably don’t want to think about.
Even if you don’t have children or pets, someone will need to administer your estate, so the will designates an estate trustee and instructs them as to what generally to do with your assets. Selecting the right executor may be extra hard if you do not have a spouse or a child. Will an online will program have the skills to talk you through the decision? A good estate planning lawyer has that skill and will take the time.
Your lawyer will respect your wishes about burial or cremation and about preferences for a funeral or memorial service, but unlike a computer program, will do so with empathy and allow you the time and space to contemplate your mortality, but not for so long that you stop the process.
They have yet to invent an artificial intelligence that has emotional intelligence, which might be the most important reason to talk to a real person- a lawyer- about estate planning at an early age.
I have never tried an online will program. They will no doubt grow in popularity, as some folks like the convenience, prefer the cost, or are reluctant to discuss their plans with a real person. In our opinion, an online will may be better than no will, just like Turbo Tax is better than not filing your taxes. But in our opinion, estate planning through a lawyer remains an affordable, practical, and preferable option. An online will is not estate planning, just as Turbo Tax is not tax planning.
We like the human touch. Whether you die early or live to 100, preparing an estate plan early and adapting it as your circumstances change is the best choice. A choice which we think is best accomplished through a lawyer together with other trusted advisors.
There are many good estate planning lawyers in Thunder Bay. A few of them are at Weilers LLP, where they range in age, personalities, and interests, but are all interested in your estate planning and capable of being that trusted advisor. There are no obligations attached to giving us a call and starting the conversation about your estate plan. Why wait?