“The Emotional Stress Of Estate Planning Is Too Much For Me”
If you’re like most people, thinking about your mortality is not the most pleasurable experience. As mere mortals, we are not created to live forever, and have no idea when our last day will be. Although you may not want to think about it, avoidance is not your best choice because you’re not considering the ones you love and who love you.
So, what is Estate Planning is and why do you want to do it, no matter how difficult it may be?
What can I do with my Estate?
Since you’ve worked a lifetime to create your Estate, you probably want to control how your belongings are given to the people, causes, and organizations that matter to you. The only way that happens is if you write down instructions for how those things pass along after you’re gone. You can even make sure it is done in the most efficient, cost effective and tax effective way possible. Also, you can ensure this is a private process, so your finances are not available to anyone who wants to see them, which can affect those who are receiving your Estate.
Generally, what is involved with planning my Estate?
A good Estate Plan:
What if I don’t plan my Estate?
Thinking about your own mortality is uncomfortable, which is why so many put off preparing their estate plan. Reasons for delays include: “I’m not old enough”, “I’m too busy right now, but I’ll get to it”; “I’m not really old enough”; I don’t own enough”; “I’m confused about the process”; “I don’t know who can help me”; and, of course, “I just don’t want to think about it”. Procrastination is not the best option because, unfortunately, when something does happen, family members, who should be focusing on healing because of their loss, are instead feeling tremendous stress and resentment during an already difficult time, and are forced to pick up the pieces of a mess left behind.
If you are disabled
If your name is on the title of your assets and you can’t conduct business due to mental or physical incapacity, only a court appointee can sign for you on your behalf. The court, not your family, will control how your assets are used to care for you through a guardianship proceeding. It can become expensive and time consuming, it is open to the public, and it can be difficult to end even if you recover.
After your death
If you pass without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws in New York State, which also means that Halachic yerusha (inheritance according to Jewish Law) is not considered and may even be violated. In this scenario, no matter what you wish, the state of New York will decide how your estate will be distributed. If you and your spouse both die and there are minor children, the court will appoint a guardian without knowing whom you would have chosen to raise your own children.
Given the choice—and you do have the choice—wouldn’t you prefer these matters be handled privately by your family, not by the courts? Wouldn’t you prefer to keep control of who receives what and when? Wouldn’t you want to follow the Halacha guidelines for inheritance? And, if you have young children, wouldn’t you prefer to have a say in who will raise them if you can’t?
The best benefit is peace of mind.
Knowing you have a properly prepared plan in place – one that contains your instructions and will protect your family – will give you and your family peace of mind. This is one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for yourself and for those you love.
Monet Binder, Esq., serves Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, dedicated to protecting families, their legacies, and values. All halachic documents are approved by the Bais Havaad Halacha Center in Lakewood, under the direction of Rabbi Dovid Grossman and the guidance of Harav Shmuel Kaminetsky, shlita, as well as other leading halachic authorities. To learn more about how a power of attorney can help you, you can send her an email at http://email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-514-7575.
The information in this article is intended solely for your information. It does not constitute legal advice, and it should not be relied on without a discussion of your specific situation with an attorney.