In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses an essential part of estate planning.
Our approach to estate planning involves playing a lot of “what if” with our clients that we help. So, what do I mean by that? Well, most of the time when people come in they have an idea of what they want, and their idea sort of assumes that they’re going to die next week or next month, and as I am always happy to inform them, that is very likely not to be the case for you. Hopefully, you’re going to live for years and years.
So the what if takes into consideration that the time these documents that we’re helping them with play out is going to be, whether it’s powers of attorney or wills, trusts, in most cases, that situation is going to play out years down the line. Things change over time, so you may have an idea that you want to leave, for instance, everything to your spouse and if they’re not around, your children, but we need to play “what if.”
What if one of your children has died by the time it gets to that point? What if somebody who you’ve chosen to be the person to take care of things for you just doesn’t want to do it, or can’t do it, or they would have been a fine choice now, but by the time it gets to this they’re 80 years old and would say, “you know I just don’t want to take on this project.”
And the what if carries our further. I’ll have people say, “Well, on my children that’s easy. If one of them dies then it goes down to the grandchildren.” How old are your grandchildren? “Well, lets see, one’s 7 and the other is 3 from the one child, and the other one they’re 5 and 1.” Any chance they may have more children? “Well, they might.”
Well, those are all things if you can ask the question, you can come up with an answer for how you want to deal with it. So a well constructed estate plan, one that’s going to stand the test of time and not require you to be back and forth to your lawyer every time something happens in the family, involves going through that process of asking “what if,” because if you’ve answered those questions well, you have a good estate plan that is going to serve you well over time.
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.