I hesitated writing this piece, but I felt that I owed it to our clients and their loved ones to bring to light a grim and not-so-happy part about the holidays. It came when I saw an article about how the American Heart Association has reported that there are more heart attacks that happen on Christmas Day than any other day of the year. Additionally, a lot of ill and elderly seem to hold on until the holidays and perhaps there is something about all of the family gathering together and being surrounded by loved ones that allows them to “let go” and pass away, or maybe it is the stress of the holidays. In any event, we urge you to take care of yourselves during the holidays!
Our law firm and many of my other attorney colleagues in the field of estate planning experience an increase in phone calls in December, January and February with news of loved ones passing. In fact, we are already starting to experience an increase in calls to our office and most of them are for help with probate (which means that someone either passed away without an estate plan or with just a Will).
So, Why Is This Important?
This unfortunate fact is important because procrastination is the top reason that most people do not end up either getting an estate plan or updating the one that they already have. People put it off until later, because let's face it. Estate planning is not a very “fun” process. It can involve difficult conversations and decisions to be made with your spouse and loved ones and, let's be honest, who wants to think about the “what ifs” in life - - whether it's becoming disabled, incapacitated or passing away?
However, knowing this ill-fated fact about the holidays, we strongly recommend you to consider taking action.
- If you do not have an estate plan, now is the time to consider getting one put in place to avoid an expensive and time-consuming Probate process for your loved ones.
- If you have just a Will, you may wish to consider upgrading your estate plan to a Living Trust, which is a far better and more appropriate estate plan for many people.
- If you have an estate plan, but it has not been reviewed in the last 3 years, it is recommended that you get a full review of your estate plan to make sure that it is up-to-date with the law, as well as ensure that it is set up appropriately for you and your current circumstances.
- If you have any friends or family who do not have an estate plan, have just a Will or who have not had their estate plan reviewed in the last 3 years,encourage them to take action RIGHT NOW.
For more information and to better understand the importance of a properly drafted and well-maintained estate plan, attend one of our final FREE Living Trust Seminars of the year. At the conclusion of the seminar, you can schedule a free consultation to come in for a free consultation with an attorney in our office. Our December calendars are already beginning to fill up, so you may wish to book an appointment to come in and see us. Call our office at 661-945-5868 to schedule an appointment with an attorney.
In conclusion, the intention behind this article is to address those that have been putting off their estate planning and waiting until a “better time”. There is truly no better time than NOW to address these important issues that impact you and your loved ones. By addressing these now, it will leave you with the peace of mind in knowing that you have properly taken care of your affairs and allow you the ability to focus on the holidays and the time you can spend with your loved ones, knowing that should something happen, everything is in order. What a precious gift to give to yourself and to your family this holiday season and the years to come!