Estate Planning—Just DO IT!
Pamela Khinda, CFP®, MBA
Estate planning can be complex and daunting for a lot of people, and many simply deal with it by putting it off. You don’t have to be wealthy to need a will or a trust. If you die without a will, you die intestate and your local jurisdiction will determine how things are distributed. This means the fate of your assets, whether bank accounts, stocks, priceless heirlooms, or real estate, will be decided by strangers, which can make your estate more susceptible to fighting amongst relatives, friends, or even scam artists. Furthermore, dying without a will ensures that your estate will be tied up in a time-consuming and costly process; this can be mitigated with forethought and planning.
One of the most critical reasons for establishing a will is to name a guardian and trustee for your minor children. Although it is terrible to think of your children losing their parents, it is infinitely more difficult to think of your children losing their parents and requiring court pro- ceedings to decide their fate. You might trust a family friend to raise your children over a distant relative, but unless you put that legally
in writing, it is unlikely to happen. During an already tragic time, your children could find themselves stuck in the middle of a family conflict.