Why “Just a Will” Won’t Cut It

Posted by Charlotte Davis | Sep 15, 2023

When most people think of estate planning, they think of having a will, or perhaps, a will and a trust.  But the reality is there are other important documents that you should have in place to protect yourself while you are still living, and to protect your loved ones after you die.

A comprehensive estate plan should include both lifetime and at-death planning components to plan for the possibility of incapacitation and the certainty of death. 

A thorough estate plan should make sure your financial affairs can be taken care of if you are in a coma or otherwise incapacitated.  It should make sure someone you trust can make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so.  If you are a parent, it should appoint a guardian for your kids not just if you die, but also a temporary emergency guardian if you are alive but unable to care for your kids due to a temporary condition such as incapacitation or imprisonment.   It should make sure your estate does not have to pay unnecessary taxes and fees, and it should make sure your beneficiaries inherit your estate in the way that you prefer.

Too many people know they need a will, find one on the internet, sign it, and claim they have an estate plan.  But why have an estate plan if it's not going to protect you and your family when you need it?  The reality is a generic will is not customized to your family's needs, and will not protect you or your loved ones if you are incapacitated since wills only go into effect at death. 

If you were in a car wreck and end up in a coma, your children would still need to be cared for, and your bills would still need to be paid. Planning ahead can allow you to pick who you want to handle these responsibilities in such a situation.  That way your children are cared for, and your mortgage still gets paid (protecting your credit!). 

If you're ready to create an estate plan that will protect you and your family both in life and in death, the first step is to schedule your Life & Legacy Planning Session with me. During the session, we'll look at everything you own and everyone you love to get to know your family and your wishes on a personal level. Then we'll explain how the law would affect your family if something happened to you today, and together, we'll design a plan that will protect your assets and your loved ones, no matter what.

To get started, schedule a complimentary 15-minute call. We can't wait to protect your family through comprehensive planning.

About the Author

Charlotte Davis

Charlotte Davis brings 20 years of professional experience to Harpeth Estate Law, which she started to help clients set up estate plans that provide for their loved ones and their legacy after death.

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