There is a lesson to be learned from AMC’s “The Walking Dead”: advance preparation for the unexpected will prove beneficial. Surviving a zombie apocalypse requires planning: identifying a network of people you can trust, a safe place to hide, food, water and lots of firepower.
And that is what estate planning is all about. While you do not need to worry about improving your zombie-fighting skills, you cannot ignore the need to plan for circumstances that they may not want to think about because that can lead to real problems.
Many people put off basic estate planning tasks such as preparing a will. Without a will, important issues such as distribution of your assets and guardianship of your minor children will be left up to the state. The absence of a will can also result in confusion and unnecessary costs for one’s heirs. Trusts are also a valuable tool to ease the distribution of assets and reduce costs. Reviewing your will and any trusts is just as important as creating them, particularly after major changes in life circumstances such as the birth of a child or a change in marital status.
Incapacity from an accident or illness is a very real possibility, though difficult to consider. It is simply good common sense to make it known what your medical wishes would be in such a situation. A living will does just that, documenting your wishes in certain medical situations. In addition, a power of attorney or health care proxy designates a person to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.
Working on your zombie bunker can probably wait. Good estate planning cannot.
Please join us in celebrating, supporting and participating in the 5th anniversary of National Estate Planning Awareness Week, October 21-27, 2013.