DO YOU NEED AN ESTATE PLAN?
Most adults realize that they need an estate plan in place, but most people drag their feet when it comes time to sit down and write out an estate plan with a lawyer. Grand Haven lawyer, Scott Sewick believes fear is why most people put off having an estate plan written out. “I talk to many people about estate planning. Many of the people I discuss estate planning with never follow through to put a plan together. People often pick up the paperwork from me and say they will complete it but they never do. I believe the main reason for that is because people don’t like the thought of dying, so they continue putting off their estate plan,” Sewick noted.
Adults should have an estate plan. Sewick helps families set up estate plans, living wills, and trusts on a regular basis. The process does not have to be difficult or emotional. “When setting up an estate plan, I talk to my clients about the future. Who will get their assets? It is the kids, other family members, or parents? We will make sure all of these questions are documented and answered so if my client passes away, everything is spelled out and people are not questioning who gets what,” Sewick added.
It is also important to do a medical and healthcare power of attorney. “Unfortunately a time may come where a person can no longer make financial and healthcare decisions for themselves. If this happens, who should make decisions for you? We set everything up so if this time ever comes, it is clearly documented who should make decisions for you. We would all like to think that we will always be able to make our own decisions, but in the event that you can’t make that decision, a spouse or child may need to step in and make decisions for you. A medical and healthcare power of attorney is a must,” Sewick advised.
If a person has minor children, it is also important to have a trust in place. “If something happens to the parents of minor children, it is best if a trust is in place so the parents’ assets can be protected and we can make sure the kids get the parents assets when the parents want them to receive them. I have had many clients who don’t want their minor kids to receive certain assets until they have reached a certain age. This can all be set up in a trust,” Sewick added.
Thinking about death is something most people struggle with. Having an estate plan in place can actually give you and your family peace of mind. Everything will be spelled out for them so they know exactly what needs to be done if or when their loved one passes away or can no longer speak for themselves.