Have an estate plan? Well if you don’t, your among good company. About 50%-60% of Americans don’t even have a will.

So here are 5 quick Dos and Don’ts when it comes to estate plans.

  • Don’t name your minor kids as beneficiaries of your insurance policy.  If something happens to you before they turn 18, then a court will have to appoint someone to manage their money for them. And, even worse, when they turn 18, they’ll have instant access to everything that’s left.
  • Do have backup Health Care Agents named. You may feel you only trust one person deciding whether to “pull the plug” or make clutch decisions in an emergency, but if that person’s not available because their taking a dream vacation in Barbados, you need to have someone around to make those tough choices.
  • Don’t put one of your adult kid’s names on your bankbook because it’s convenient. A lot of elders will add an adult child’s name to their bank accounts for convenience and think that they’ll  “do the right” thing when they’re gone and split the money amongst the other siblings.  But, putting their name on an account can make them an outright owner of the money and they may choose to not split the money with their brothers and sisters after you’re gone.
  • Do name guardians of your minor children. This one’s a “no brainer.” It’s simple, if you don’t name guardians yourself, then a Probate Judge who knows nothing about your family and your values will make the decision for you after you’re gone.  And, you may not like that decision.
  • Don’t put off creating a plan. Let’s face it, between jobs, kids, family, soccer practices, homework, dance recitals, life is busy. It’s easy to let the days slip on by without one. But, every time you step out of the front door, something could happen to you.  I know it’s not what you want to think about, but strokes, heart attacks, auto accidents, even criminal violence, can happen. If you haven’t planned something, then your loved ones will be left cleaning up the financial mess you leave behind.

Make this year the year that you leave the other half of Americans behind and get an estate plan done.

Andrew Garcia, Family Legal Planning Attorney

Don't leave your loved ones with a financial mess. Get some Family Legal Planning in place before it's too late.

The Family Legal Planning system at Phillips & Garcia has been designed to help busy families get their estate planning done in a convenient and affordable way. To schedule your complimentary Family Legal Planning session with Attorney Andrew Garcia just call (508) 998-0800 or email him at [email protected].