Out of all of my siblings, I only have two that are married. One is my brother, Tyler, who is an accountant and the other is my sister, Heather, who works as a nurse. They both have very different personalities and one is from my dad’s first marriage while the other is from my mom’s first marriage, but both of them have made the decision to create an estate plan to protect their families. I wanted to know what made them come to that decision and so I asked each of them a few questions. A lot of their answers are very similar and I am going to share them with you.
Question One: Why did you decide to get an estate plan?
Before I explain their answers on this one, a little back story is required. My eldest brother was married when he died at the age of thirty and he did not have an estate plan. Also, my sister’s biological father died when she was at a very young age. These two things shaped the answers I was given. Tyler reflected on the aftermath of when my brother died and saw the struggles my sister-in-law went through. Because of that he said, “it became apparent that having one would help answer a lot of questions.” Heather’s answer was similar but she also mentioned how the death of her father played a part in her decision and how she wanted to make sure she had a say in how her children were raised, even if she wasn’t there. Similar motivations drove each of my siblings to protect their families.
Question Two: Do you think having a lawyer for a father (especially one who works in that field of law) influenced you in that decision?
They both answered yes, that it influenced them but only my brother mentioned that he probably would not have gotten one if my dad had not been a lawyer. My sister, on the other hand, said “I think I still would have done it even if he hadn’t been my dad. I knew it was important because of how it affected my mom when it happened to her. I don’t know that I would have known about estate plans if it hadn’t have been for my dad. I would have just done a cheap will.”
Question Three: What do you think is the most important thing about having an estate plan?
Both mentioned how important it is that they know how and who will take care of their children. Also, there was the added benefit that because of the estate plan, all of their money would not go towards taxes.
Question Four: If you didn’t have a lawyer for a Father do you think you would have gotten one?
Here their answers differ. Tyler just answered with a straight no to this question while Heather responded differently. She acknowledged that she probably would not have known what an estate plan was but because of the situation with her biological father she said she would have at the very least gotten a will.
Question Five: Do you feel you were too young to get an estate plan?
There was a resounding no from each of them regarding this question. An estate plan is important for all ages, especially if you have children. The purpose of an estate plan is to not only protect your assets but to help you leave a legacy behind. It allows your voice to be heard even after you are gone.
Question Six: Do most of your friends have Estate Plans?
Only my sister had met one person who also had an estate plan. While this is not something that is common in conversation, the fact that both siblings did not know many, if any, who also had estate plans, speaks loudly to the great need there is for one.
Estate planning can be something people put off just because they don’t think there is a need for one, or because they don’t want to think about why they need one, or many other reasons. However, no matter what the reason, no excuse is worth the risk of leaving your family unprepared. The peace of mind an estate plan offers in the long run far outweighs any sort of annoyance or discomfort or even just apathy one might have in the moment.