It’s a cliche. In the era of youTube and Instagram, we seem to yearn to be special. In modern life, we may be a bit too convinced of our own “specialness”. But the shocker is that the one time where it’s actually true, most of us don’t think of it that way. When we think of organizing our legal affairs when we die, we think that everyone needs…. a will. Or everyone needs… a living trust. Or everyone needs…. to avoid probate. And the notion that there is a one size fits all answer to this stuff is…. not necessarily true.
Snowflakes are individual. And you, dear reader, are a precious snowflake. At least when it comes to organizing your after life. You are unique. Your circumstances, your finances, your family situation all mean that you have a very particular answer to the question, “how can the legal issues that come up when I die be addressed in the most efficient way?”
Making sure that happens isn’t just about having a particular document or doing it how your buddy does it. It’s thinking through your assets and thinking through who depends on you.
Those things are like a finger print. It’s unique to you.
That means what worked for your parents or your neighbors might not be the answer for you.
Traditionally, when we think about estate planning, we think about having a will… maybe a trust, putting it away and not really giving it another thought. But the bigger question of “how do I minimize the stress my loved one will have in trying to deal with my legal issues” doesn’t just involve a will. It may. In rare cases it might not. In most cases it means more. Ultimately, answering that question will mean a particular set of documents… and application of those documents to your assets.
I’ve been a death lawyer for over ten years. Usually, when we have estate planning on our to do list, we think about getting a document signed. “I need to get my will done”. Usually though, as I talk through the factors that makes someone’s estate unique, I find out that sometimes more documents are needed. Sometimes the documents they think they need really won’t do much to help to help their family deal with the legal aftermath of their estate.
And minimizing that legal to do list for them, isn’t just about having a legal document.
In the coming weeks, I’ll cover the three factors that make you, makes your estate and estate plan, an individual…. you precious little snowflake, you.