We are fast approaching the holidays, when travel is the busiest and careful planning is necessary to nab the best airfare or book that New Year’s beach cottage before it slips away. One thing that is probably not on your travel to-do list is estate planning, but it should be so you can travel with peace of mind.
Here are some tips to pack away your worries before you board that flight:
Complete your estate plan. If you’ve been putting it off, now is the time to complete your estate plan. If money is a consideration, then start with those the most important items: a will, power of attorney and advance health care directives.
Update an existing estate plan. Has something changed in your life since you last updated your estate plan? A birth, a death, a marriage, a divorce? Each of these triggers your need to update your estate plan.
Establish guardianship for minor children. If you have ever gotten a nagging fear about what would happen to your children if something were to happen to you, then use that fear to follow through on naming a guardian for raising your minor children. If you have young kids, there is never an excuse for you to neglect this important step.
Review beneficiaries. Beneficiaries of your retirement accounts, life insurance and other assets must be kept current or your assets will not pass to them upon your death. If you have minor children, you will need to set up a trust and name the trust as beneficiary so your assets can pass without court intervention.
Review/update incapacity documents. Two very important health care documents – a durable power of attorney for health care and a HIPPA Authorization – will determine who can make medical decisions for you and who has access to your medical records in case of incapacity. Be sure you have these documents before you travel and that the person/people named are still valid.
Review/update insurance. Does your life insurance coverage still meet your family’s needs? If not, it is time to update your insurance policy before you hit the road.
In addition, you need to be sure you have an organized file of all your accounts and estate planning documents and you need to tell your family where they can locate the file if and when it becomes necessary.
The time to create a plan that spells out how you will pass on your values, beliefs and your money to your children is now. You can begin by calling our Atlanta estate planning law office today at 770-425-6060 to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Georgia Family Legacy Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next three people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this blog post.
Image courtesy of Nujalee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do Now to Feel Better About Yourself As a Parent – and Leave the World a Better Place – No Matter How Much Money You Have in the Bank
If you are like most of the parents I know, you feel guilty. It’s what parents do.
Whether your guilt is about not enough time with the kids, too much time with the kids, hovering incessantly, or being too laid back, you are worried you aren’t doing the right thing by your kids in some way.
Just the fact that you are worried about it tells me, you are an awesome parent. Bad parents don’t worry that they are being bad parents, they just are bad and don’t care.
And, at the same time, I know you’d appreciate a quick, effective and pain-free way to remove that guilt and start really feeling great about how much you do for your kids. Plus, make sure they know exactly how much you love them, no matter what.
I know that’s what matters most to me. I know that kids who feel loved as children grow up to be better people, better parents themselves, more successful, happier and contribute to the world more.
I’ve seen it again and again and been frequently surprised by how much the feeling of being loved can overcome any number of circumstances for a child.
Broken marriages, early death of parents, even being given up for adoption, each of these circumstances could lead to trauma, feelings of abandonment, persistent anxiety and fear. People who experience these challenges will have a harder time in life, be less able to maintain relationships and tend to do less well in their careers.
And, if a child feels loved through these exact same circumstances, truly and thoroughly loved and accepted, he doesn’t just survive them, he thrives. He takes the hard times and turns them into teachings. He is a joy to be around because he is so in service to life itself. He is loved by all because he knows the love of his parents.
It’s what makes life really matter, right? Knowing you’ve parented your kids well and left them well-prepared for the future — safe, secure and full of self-love.
Is there really anything more important than that?
But what have you done to prepare for the day you can’t be there for them? Will they feel your love then?
It’s not a pleasant topic, I know. It used to frighten me to paralysis when I used to think about it. Because I didn’t know what to do to make it okay. I love my children so much I couldn’t bear to think about them living on after me because I couldn’t envision who would care for them like I do.
And I knew that if I didn’t make decisions, a Judge would make them for me. I knew it wouldn’t have been what I wanted and my kids would be left wondering – why didn’t mom care enough to take care of the things that really matter?
Day after day the Courts process cases of families who have lost a loved one and now it’s left up to the overworked, underpaid, harried and hurried Judge to make the critical decisions you’ve struggled with yourself, and to do so with limited or no information.
Decisions such as who will be the guardian of the children left behind, who will make financial decisions for the family until all children have become adults and who will take care of ensuring it’s all done well are left up to a stranger who doesn’t know you, love you, or really even care about you.
When you make the decisions about these things (and document the decisions properly), you are doing the right thing by your children, letting them know they can feel secure, confident, and not grow up with the kind of issues that will keep them from having successful relationships, lives and careers.
Engaging in the process of making decisions for your kids care if something happens to you and getting clear on the kind of beliefs you want them to take into the world if you aren’t there to raise them makes you a better parent.
The best part is that even though you are planning for a long-time in the future or an eventuality that may never happen, it makes you a better parent immediately.
When you clarify the way you want your children raised and the beliefs you want them to carry into the world, you naturally begin to be more conscious about your relationship with your children now.
If you’d like to explore this process of Family Legacy Planning with a metro Atlanta family legacy planning attorney, come in for a visit with me and in just 90 minutes or so you’ll know exactly how you want your children raised, what beliefs and values you want them to take into the world and pass on to their kids, and who will be the best people to do that, if you can’t be.
Normally, a Georgia Family Legacy Planning Session is $750. It’s guaranteed to be a game-changer for you as a parent. You’ll be closer with your children. More relaxed. And more able to stay connected to yourself and what really matters through the parenting process.
The first three families to call us this month at 770.425.6060 and mention this blog post can schedule the Georgia Family Legacy Planning Session and we will waive the session fee. Be sure to mention the Blog and the code “ParentsLove” so you don’t get charged.
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net