Britain's vote to leave the EU leaves our entire global economy in a state of uncertainty. It's a further reminder that we, as individuals, have little power over the world at large. But we do (for the most part) have power over our own worlds - personal, emotional, financial, and otherwise. So why do so few of us take hold of the power we have when it comes to our estates?
The tools given to us in Estate Planning Documents like the Power of Attorney, the Healthcare Directive, and the Revocable Trust, are invaluable in ensuring one's own and one's family's futures. So why do we put off doing our Estate Plans? There's so much uncertainty in our lives already, why leave something as important as your health and legacy up to chance - or up to the Courts? Even my wife and I found ourselves dragging our feet to put it all in writing - and we're extremely educated about the consequences of not doing it.
Now, with a ground shaking occurence such as Brexit, the most fearful among us may worry that there will be nothing left of their estate to leave anyone. History has shown us that time heals all wounds, and therefore you will indeed have an estate left when all is said and done. But let's consider the far-fetched, unlikely event that Brexit left you ruined. Do you still need and Estate Plan? The answer is Yes, definitely yes.
If you still have your home, or assets in excess of $150,000 (for CA), you'll benefit from a Revocable Living Trust.
If you still have your mental sanity, you'll benefit from an Advance Healthcare Directive. The Advance Healthcare Directive will allow you to designate someone to make healthcare decisions for you should you lose your mental capacity in the future. Currently, 1/4 of all seniors die with some form of dementia. If traumatic events like Brexit continue to occur, who knows how many of us will willingly start to give up our memories!
And if you still have any money or assets left at all - you'll benefit from a Power of Attorney. The Durable Power of Attorney lets you designate someone to manage your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. And, as we have already established, if the world continues to be unpredictable, your chances of this are increasing.
Together, The Advance Healthcare Directive and the Power of Attorney will avoid the need for a Conservatorship should you become incapacitated. Conservatorships are expensive, stressful, and subject to the court's discretion.
Now, in all frankness, you may live a long, healthy life in which you are capable of managing your own health and finances until you pass away peacefully one night in your sleep. And your children may work peacefully together to arrange your funeral, divide up your assets, and happily pay their attorney to probate your estate. But what if it doesn't work out like that? Wouldn't you prefer to avoid uncertainty and risk if you could?
When I consider all the uncertainty around us - the economy, the markets, the Presidency, etc. - I feel a renewed energy to encourage friends, family, and our community to embrace Estate Planning. We have the tools to plan for our futures, so let's use them.