In Bull Durham Crash Davis told Nuke LaLoosh, “…you don’t respect yourself, which is your problem. But you don’t respect the game, and that’s my problem.” For some reason that quote made me think of estate planning. Most people don’t like to think about their untimely death or incapacitation, but if you fail to plan for it, either scenario could become a huge problem for the people you love the most.
Working with an estate planning attorney to make sure you have an updated will, living will, durable power of attorney, and medical directive is a vital part of your financial plan. If you have children, you want to make sure they are taken care of if you or a spouse passes away. If you don’t have children, you want to make sure your estate is processed in an efficient manner according to your wishes. How do you protect your assets from Medicaid spend down rules? How can you avoid estate taxes? Do your beneficiary designations represent how you want your assets distributed? All of these questions can be answered by having your basic estate planning documents in place. An experienced attorney can help guide you and ask questions that ensure your bases are covered. Your financial planner can help coordinate the titling of accounts and beneficiary designations to complement your plan. When you are looking for an attorney, try to find one who focuses on estate planning so you know they are more likely to look at your entire financial picture and draw on experience from a variety of scenarios.
If you haven’t seen Bull Durham, you’re missing out in my opinion. Nuke LaLoosh sure didn’t have his head on straight as he was toiling through the minors, but Crash Davis was there to offer sage and often profane advice. Without using that same colorful language, do your family a favor and don’t put off your personal estate planning!