Chapter 18. Estate Planning

As you've journeyed through this book, you've been thinking a lot about your life stories. Now we'd like you to think about the story that will best reflect who you really are once you pass on. Are you the grandparent who always wanted to make sure your grandchildren were educated? Are you the parent who wouldn't want your children to worry about financial issues while they are grieving your loss? Are you the humanitarian who doesn't think the government and society do enough to help underprivileged children? Maybe the thought that "you can't take it with you" makes you want to spend it all now, and just make provisions for your burial costs. These are the types of things you may want to be reflected in your estate planning.

It used to be difficult to get people to talk about death. Then 9/11 happened. Suddenly, it became clear to everyone that life can be taken from us in an instant.

That reality means there are some questions we need to think about:

  • Do you have a will?

  • Do you have the other documents you need, like a living will?

  • Have you kept your beneficiary designations up to date?

  • If you were to die tomorrow, would your loved ones be cared for according to your wishes?

  • If not, why?

The Messages You've Received about Estate Planning

Stacey once told me about a woman in her 50s that she knows, who is very concerned about her elderly parents' refusal to talk or think about estate planning. What Stacey found ironic was that the woman had not done any estate ...

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