June 2, 2022
An Estate Plan Can Help Protect Your Family and Assets
Jodie Leister LPCC-S, CEAP the Ohio State Employee Assistance Program

Have you ever heard the saying “the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes”? The fact of the matter is that all good things must come to an end, and they will whether we are prepared for them or not. No one likes to think about death, let alone the pain associated with the loss of our own life, or that of those we love. For some individuals, the fear associated with this is so strong that is hinders them from adequately preparing for the inevitable. They may then end up leaving those in their lives to fumble through things like estate management, wills, business planning and financial stress during the time in their lives they are least able emotionally to do so.

It is important to make estate planning a priority no matter the quantity of assets you may have. Below are some common reasons individuals choose to put off planning and the reasons why they shouldn’t.

  1. They are intimidated by the process. Estate planning does not have to be intimidating – you just need to know what to expect. Most attorneys will have you fill out a questionnaire that lists your assets and liabilities. It’s pretty simple and takes about 2–4 hours in total depending on the individual.
  2.  Not sure who to appoint as personal representative, an agent under a power of attorney or healthcare surrogate. Certainly, these can be tough decisions, but that’s not a good reason to procrastinate. If you do not have family that you can trust, look to your friends, a pastor, a bank representative, a trust company, or even your own attorney.
  3. You’re too young. Accidents and illness happen every day. Planning for the future doesn’t make bad things to happen, but it does protect you and your family if they do.
  4. The cost is too expensive. The cost to do your estate planning really depends on what area of the country you live in, and whether you choose to have an attorney prepare the documents. You could “do it yourself” by purchasing software or buying forms from your local office supply store. However, if you have a complicated situation, it might be smarter to utilize the services of an attorney. The Ohio State University Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has resources that are there to help you.
  5. Low number of assets. Even if you do not have much materially, it would be wise to appoint someone who can deal with your finances and healthcare decisions should you be unable to do so. Upon your death if no one has been appointed, your assets will go to Probate Court and the decisions will be made for your family by the Court which can lead to the loss of assets and not taking care of loved ones.
  6. Lack of time. Most people have busy lives, but they shouldn’t let this be an excuse for avoiding the end-of-life planning process. There are certain tasks you must prioritize, and making your will is one of them. Set aside the time to get it done — if you procrastinate too long, you might not get the chance.

If you have been avoiding this conversation with family or are having trouble with helping others in your life with this process, take action. The Ohio State EAP has many resources that can help to educate and reduce the stress associated with end-of-life planning. We will all leave this place some time, so why not take care of those your love in the process?


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