Preparing For the Unknown

February 3, 2012

As is so often the case, this show was inspired by actual life events taking place. Unfortunately, this week’s episode is not light and jovial as many of our shows are. In today’s episode, Bo shares the unfortunate and tragic loss that he and his family have recently endured. Our hope is that, through Bo’s willingness to open up his personal life, today’s show may serve as the needed push to begin the process of making sure you and your family are prepared and protected from unknown and unexpected life events.

An EZLaw Wills & Estate Planning Survey shows that less that 40% of American parents with minor children have wills.  Although at least 60% of Americans believe that all adults should have a will or estate planning arrangements, few have the necessary documents in place.  Additionally, more than one third of Americans do not believe that wills or estate plans are as important to have on hand as birth certificates or titles/deeds for property and vehicles.  Even though the majority of parents (75%) understand that a court will decide legal guardians for their children in the absence of a will, only 39% have any estate planning documents in place.

The survey also broke down the top excuses given for not having a will:

  • 37% cite a current focus on “essentials”, such as paying bills and buying groceries
  • 18% say estate planning is not necessary
  • 16% say it is too complicated to deal with right now
  • 14% say it is too expensive
  • 13% believe that their spouse and/or children will receive their assets automatically
  • 6% say it is too time consuming

In addition to parents failing to develop wills, there is also evidence that shows many parents lack life insurance.  In fact, according to UPI.com, 69% of single parents with children living in the household have no life insurance, while 45% of married parents with children in the household have no life insurance.  A good rule of thumb is to have at least 10 times the income earner’s annual salary in coverage.  We also recommend minimal coverage for nonworking spouses to account for grieving time, childcare expenses, etc.  A great resource is this quote estimator, provided by the Michael Gasses Agency, which allows you to input your information and generate a quote.  You may be surprised by how affordable coverage can be for the peace of mind that your family will be taken care of.

The truth is that planning for these types of events can be difficult and create some very dark conversations for you and your loved ones.  The benefit is that the more you prepare in advance, the less difficult the entire process will be for them when you are gone.  For our clients, we actually provide a will creation checklist/questionnaire to help them organize before meeting with an attorney.  The more information that you can bring to the table, the less complicated and expensive it will be.  Some things you should put together before the meeting include:

  • Net worth statement
  • Any life insurance owned
  • Expected inheritances
  • Special circumstances (i.e. disabled children or parents)
  • Power of Attorney information
  • Burial/funeral arrangement wishes

As Bo mentioned, there has been a donation account set up for his sister-in-law and their two children. 100% of the donations will go directly to the family. Donations can be made at any Bank of America location. When making a donation, please reference the Jay Ingram Family Contribution Account. You are welcome to email the family attorney, Evan Kaine, with any questions: ekaine@elawpractice.com.



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