I had a major a-ha moment this week when I watched a video about estate planning at a web show called The Intentional Parent. It hit me that this is what estate planning is all about: Intentional Parenting, or Parenting with Purpose.
I often try to pin down what my clients all have in common, and while they have varying incomes, careers, lifestyles, and values, what they DO have in common is that they are all seeking to parent their kids with purpose. The purpose is not always the same. I have clients whose kids go to the most academically recognized schools in Oregon and I have clients whose kids go to schools that are centered around the environment, religion, student democracy, and many other variations of those. I have clients whose kids go to public school and clients whose kids are homeschooled. Of course, parenting isn't all about what school you choose, but I bring up school choice to show you that while values may vary, all of my clients put a lot of thought and energy into their kids' education and upbringing. They're not just plowing through life hoping for the best. They're making decisions with purpose and intention.
Estate Planning is for parents who are parenting with intention and who want to protect the purpose that they have for their family. What will happen to all of the thought you put into parenting if something happens to you? Consider the following scenarios:
- You are injured and are out of work for many months;
- You are incapacitated and can't make health or financial decisions for yourself;
- You and your child are both incapaciated and there is no one to make decisions;
- You die prematurely without a plan in place.
What will happen to your purpose for your family in each of these scenarios? Who will take care of your kids? Who will make health decisions for you and your kids? Who will pay the bills? Who will ensure your kids complete their education? Who will pay for your kids upbringing? How much money will you have to pay to go through the various court processes if any of these things happen?
There are a lot of people who have the attitude of, "If I die, I die, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to die." This is not the attitude of someone who parents with purpose. Someone who parents with purpose sees what they have in their power to do, and does it. You may not be able to ensure that the decisions that you make for your family will lead to a certain outcome, but you can ensure that if something bad happens to you, that your family has the best chance possible to continue life as you wanted them to live it.
It just so happens that right after Christmas comes the New Year, and that's the time to take action and make changes. If you haven't named guardians or prepared a will or trust (or if your current plan is more than a couple of years old), it's time to make sure that your precious family is protected.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
To your family's health & prosperity,
P.S. Want to get started on the most important planning you'll ever do for your family? Give our office a call at (503) 235-5150 to get started. You'll be glad you did.