With April being Stress Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to talk about stress, particularly as it relates to the estate planning process. 

It’s one of the most common emotions for someone to feel when constructing their estate plan — and not without reason! Before creating your estate plan, the process can seem daunting. Some of the most common reasons for stress I’ve heard from clients before helping them are that the complexity of the process intimidates them, and it’s stressful to contemplate their own mortality.

If you’ve fretted over these particular stressors before, I understand. However, the relief you feel when you finish creating your estate plan is worth facing the stress. In fact, most of the clients I’ve helped have said they felt as though a weight had been lifted off their shoulders, and they wished they hadn’t waited so long to get it done.

One thing about the estate planning process is that, while it can be stressful, getting it done now rather than later eliminates future stress for both you and your family. Facing the process now means you won’t have to rush the process later, right before it’s too late. Rushing the estate planning process is one of the most common reasons we’ve seen estate plans fail, leaving families stressed as they struggle to piece together your final wishes and act on them.

Estate planning is more than just slapping a few documents together and leaving your family and heirs to figure out the rest.

Does your health care agent know what they’re supposed to do in accordance with your wishes? Do they have the tools and information necessary to cut through the bureaucratic red tape embedded in the health care system?

What about your financial power of attorney or trustee? Do they know what they’re supposed to do once you’re gone? These are all questions you need to provide answers to and communicate those answers clearly to the relevant parties. You don’t want the family members and close friends you designate for these roles to second-guess their decisions for years to come.

Just having the correct documents is never enough. Don’t rush the process because as stressed and uncomfortable as it might make you right now, you’ll feel better afterward, knowing your family has all the tools and information they’ll need to act on your final wishes when you’re gone. 

If you’re a current or past client of ours, and you haven’t reviewed your estate plan with your family, our team at Carolina Family Estate Planning can help conduct a family meeting, where you can introduce your plan to them. If you’re in the beginning stages of the estate planning process, set your family up for success by addressing these matters. If you need any help or have any questions, give our office a call, and we’ll help steer you in the right direction.

Jackie Bedard
Connect with me
Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning