Pre-Planning is Key !
All too often, the sudden death of a loved one is an experience filled with anxiety and swift decisions. What if it didn’t have to be this way?
What if the experience could be one that allows your family to come together to honor, celebrate and remember your lives together? One that brings peace of mind, comfort and closure.
This can all happen, but it takes planning. Without a personal plan, your family can be left to make decisions based on what they think you would want. Not only can this leave them feeling emotionally burdened, but financially as well.
Your family can be faced with numerous decisions on one of the most traumatic days of their life. A day when they are exhausted - physically and emotionally. While they may have the best intentions, they may end up making decisions they could regret later.
Of course, making decisions regarding your loved one’s funeral is only part of the experience. Your family may also be faced with decisions regarding your home, vehicle, financial accounts and other assets you leave behind. Without proper planning, your family may have to go through the legal system and the court will decide how your things get distributed, which could be different than what you had hoped would happen.
Our local Probate Court and their staff are very helpful, but your family could be involved with them for years. Compare that to the few hours you could spend with a professional, planning ahead of time, leaving your loved ones with answers and directions.
If it makes so much sense, why don’t more people plan ahead? One of the barriers to planning ahead can be finding a resource that is right for you. There are many lawyers and funeral homes in our area and it can be difficult to know where to start or who to trust.
The professionals in your life should be like trusted friends, and when it comes to estate planning, there are several trusted friends you should have: a lawyer, a financial professional and a funeral home, just to name a few. All should understand your wishes and have updated information in their files, including the contact numbers for each other.
Most of us spend a large part of our life planning ahead so that our families can be secure. We get an education, maintain employment, buy insurance, provide a home and meet basic needs. We save for kid’s college tuition, plan for retirement and future health care needs. When we do all of these things, our families benefit from a bright future.
Where should you start if you want to begin the process of estate planning? Information is powerful and key to making a good decision, and the best place to start could be an educational seminar. Not only will you gain education on this important topic, but you will also have the chance to meet professionals who practice specifically in estate planning and can begin to build your network of resources. This way when the time is right for you, you will have someone that you can call to get started.
What type of education should I be seeking? When it comes to planning your estate, it is important to seek information on how to protect and distribute your assets, legal documents needed to give direction for your healthcare needs and steps to take to pre-plan your funeral. Receiving education in these areas can help you better understand the documents you should have in place and give you contacts to reach out to when you begin to form your personal estate plan.
Planning your estate has many benefits for you and your family. When you have recorded your personal wishes, you are giving instructions on where/when/how your assets will be distributed and how you want your life to be honored. Recording this ahead of time can make the decision-making process easier for your family, less of an emotional burden and save time and money.
Plan your estate today to give your family a bright tomorrow.
Mark M. Smith, CFSP is Owner & President of McAlister Funeral Home and a Licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer and Advance Funeral Planner. When McAlister Funeral Home was founded in 1886, a family tradition of superior service began that has continued for well over a century. The McAlister’s believed in providing personal and caring services before, during and after a funeral, placing particular emphasis on the importance of family. In 1999, the Smith family joined the McAlister’s to form the McAlister-Smith Funeral Home. They now have locations in North Charleston, West Ashley, Goose Creek, Holly Hill, and Mount Pleasant. In keeping with tradition, McAlister-Smith remains committed to offering families the best in personalized service. The belief that every funeral or memorial is an opportunity to uniquely honor, celebrate and remember is still strong today. 843-722-8371 www.mcalister-smith.com.