National Make a Will Month – Melissa’s Estate Planning Story

Melissa’s Estate Planning Story

Our family just recently drafted our estate plan. This may seem ironic given I’m a practicing attorney that advises on the subject regularly! Why did it take so long to get a plan together? Great question. Here are my observations:

1) It is taboo – When I had my daughter, I was well read on the most durable strollers, safest car seats, and healthiest baby foods. I used to tear through 3 magazines a day! Looking back, not once did any of them highlight the importance of having a legacy plan in place even though, that could have had a larger impact on my daughter’s life than all of the trending topics combined. As a new parent, everyone around you is busy celebrating life, and no one wants to ask: “what will happen to your daughter if something happens to you?” It’s a hard subject, and not easily broached. Consequently, it tends to live in the background.

2) Hubby’s are wired differently – My husband is not a “future” planner – he is a “today” planner. I’m his complement. Although he is an incredibly smart and practical person, it took some maneuvering to make this complex “future” concern a priority for “today”. I see this with a lot of couples I meet with as well. As young parents, we’re exposed to a whirlwind of activities, objectives, and tasks that compete for our time. For us, we outlined a few of the decisions we would need to make over dinner one night, but didn’t end up deciding on our plan until a few weeks later when we were flying out to a family vacation. Ours was an iterative process with several check-ins along the way.

Now that our family’s estate plan is complete, I feel an enormous amount of peace. I now know that no matter what life has in store for me, my daughter is not only going to be taken care of, but also by the right people. Helping other new parents achieve a similar peace a mind is why I LOVE my job!