Why Estate Planning?

Roughly half of all adults have no estate planning tools in place, and every one of those individuals has a reason why he or she hasn’t put a plan together: lack of time, lack of wealth, lack of desire to deal with the issue, or countless others. However, it is an important topic for everyone to consider. Learn why in this blog.

I always knew I wanted to go to law school, but I used to imagine working as a trial attorney, arguing before the judge and jury, fighting for my client’s rights. I suppose that is what most people imagine when they think about lawyers in general. I hadn’t considered the vast array of areas where lawyers could use their abilities to help people outside of the courtroom until my final semester of college—when I got the call that my father had passed away.

As an only child of divorced parents, it was up to me to decide everything: whether to bury or cremate, which funeral home to use, where to hold the service, what type of flowers to display. It was overwhelming to say the least. My father and I had not discussed his wishes at all. Despite his two fights against colon cancer, he had been doing better and was young—only 49. Additionally, he hadn’t updated his will in the last decade, during which time he had divorced my mother. He also declared in his will that I was not to inherit anything until I turned 21, which was still seven months away. So there I was, mourning the loss of my father, trying to figure out what he would have wanted, and unable to start the probate procedure or have any access to his bank accounts for the next seven months.

During those seven months, I graduated from college, got married, moved to a new state, and started law school. I also spent countless hours on the phone with the probate court staff, and with doctors’ offices, phone companies, internet providers, and anyone else who felt my father owed them money for some service. I also spent plenty of time on the phone with my father’s bank trying to get information about his account balances so that I could inventory his estate for probate. I was frustrated, overwhelmed, and angry—all at the same time. Not to mention, I was sad. I was too young to lose my dad. He wasn’t there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, or see me graduate. Instead, I was spending hours at the DMV trying to get his car re-titled into my name so that I could sell it.

This story isn’t meant to make you sad. I promise! I made it through with the love and support of my husband and friends. And, I found my calling—estate planning. You see, estate planning isn’t just about helping wealthy people avoid estate taxes. It is about people of all ages and all income levels talking to their loved ones about what they want to happen in the event of their death. Do you want to be cremated? Do you want to be an organ donor? Do you want your mother to have your collection of teapots? Estate planning is about making sure your loved ones don’t have to guess about what you would have wanted. It allows them to focus on remembering you and healing from their grief, rather than spending their time chasing down bank accounts, overdue bills, car titles, and other property. At its best, estate planning takes a horribly stressful time and makes it just a little easier. I know I don’t want my husband or possible future children to go through the same experience I went through with my father’s estate, which is the reason my estate plan is in place. So, don’t be shy—talk to your family about your wishes, and then come visit me to get them in writing with your own estate plan.

Yours truly,

-Sarah P. Edgecomb, ESQ.

Managing Attorney
Sarah P. Edgecomb, P.C.

RSS 2.0 feed. Reply to post, or trackback.

Leave a Reply