Estate Planning Awareness Week 2022 October 17 – 23

A message from Michelle & Dan

In 2008, Congress determined that due to the importance and benefits estate planning has for Americans and their families, it was necessary to bring awareness to the cause. Since, the third week of October has been recognized as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. While the onset of COVID-19 did encourage a majority of us to begin thinking about the future, many American families are still severely lacking an effective estate plan with just one-third of adults in the U.S. having documented wills or trusts. If you assume that estate planning isn’t for you because you haven’t acquired mass wealth or several large assets, you’d be mistaken.

The Importance of Having an Estate Plan

Estate planning is simply a way to protect your assets and your loved ones by creating legally valid documents that address a variety of concerns. These concerns often include ensuring that your money and property are protected, plans are in place in the event you become ill, and your assets are managed according to your wishes upon your passing.

Beginning the Estate Planning Process

To begin the estate planning process, several considerations need to be made. Go to our website to learn more.

To get you started below are a few suggestions to help get you started:

  • Existing Accounts
    • Managing your accounts and property while you are unable to is a top priority in estate planning. To properly do so, you should compile a list of all your existing accounts and only share this information only with trusted family members or other loved ones. This list should include at least the following information:
      • bank and investment accounts
      • titles to vehicles and homes
      • credit card accounts or loans
      • digital accounts and passwords
      • Social Security card, passport, and birth certificate
  • List Professionals You Work With
    • It is crucial to also create a list of legal, financial, and medical professionals who have and continue to perform services for you. The list should include their contact information and HIPAA authorizations should be put in place with medical professionals to ensure that your loved ones can obtain needed information.

Encourage Your Loved Ones to Begin Estate Planning

National Estate Planning Awareness Week is a great opportunity to get your own estate plan in place, but be sure to also reach out to your loved ones to ensure their future estate plans as well. Estate planning is often a difficult topic to broach because it brings the unpleasant topics of aging and death to the forefront of our minds. Here are a few tips to help you start the conversation:

  • Be sensitive to your loved ones’ feelings.
    • The topics that need to be addressed when discussing legacy or estate planning can be overwhelming, scary, and difficult to talk about. It’s important to confront loved ones about their estate plans with compassion and ease. Consider their feelings during this time and use soft language to get your point across. Estate planning is important, so focus on the positive aspects of setting up a will or trust such as the protection it will provide their loved ones when they’re no longer here.
  • Involve others in the conversation.
    • When it comes time to bring up a loved one’s estate plans, it’s best to have multiple people who love and care about the person be present. This can help prevent any misinformation from spreading and ensures no single person has sole control over the decisions made. Remember to emphasize the importance of a will or trust and how they work to see that your wishes are followed through. 

Consult an estate planning attorney.

Your family’s financial future is dependent upon proper planning with a knowledgeable estate attorney. With purposeful planning, you can safeguard your wealth and legacy so that it may be passed on to future generations.

Our estate planning and elder law firm has been serving families and businesses throughout southern Massachusetts, Cape Cod & the Islands for over 55 years. As experienced estate attorneys, we are dedicated to providing you with the most current estate planning information and strategies to ensure your legacy for future generations. Contact us today to learn more about estate planning.

Help us recognize this National Estate Planning Awareness Week by making your estate plan a priority. 

Here’s to being prepared!

Michelle & Dan