Is Preparing For a Disaster Putting Your Family at Risk?
Apocalyptic end of days theories, prophecies, and warnings seem to be everywhere these days. Many savvy individuals have profited by publishing books about various doomsday scenarios. Hollywood studios have perpetuated fears about the apocalypse by adding dramatic special effects to epic films about the end of days. But what has proven to be the most profitable aspect of the doomsday phenomenon is the business of helping people prepare to bug out and survive the cataclysmic events so many believe are an inevitable part of our future.
While there is no disputing the growing fascination with various apocalyptic scenarios, the attention being focused on doomsday predictions is placing many families at risk to events that are far more likely to occur. With more and more people spending their life savings on plans to survive these prophesied events, fewer Americans are engaging in the essential task of estate planning.
Taking steps to plan for an emergency or natural disaster is important, especially if you have minor children or other family members to protect. Making provisions for your family to have adequate food, water, and shelter in the event of disruption of basic services is obviously prudent. But if you have decided to put off making a will, buying life insurance, establishing a fund for your child’s education or meeting with a tax adviser about estate and gift taxes, based on a belief the world is going to end, you may be placing your family at risk to a greater and more certain threat, that of financial insecurity.
Failure to Make an Estate Plan
The consequences of failing to make an estate plan are probably not going to be the subject of the next blockbuster movie or best selling book. Yet those consequences are one of the greatest potential threats to the well being of your loved ones. To put together a set of basic estate planning documents, including a will, power of attorney, and living will, contact an attorney. If hiring an attorney is not an option, you can also use
estate planning software to print estate planning documents at home.
Much Greater Likelihood of Being Impacted by Lack of Estate Planning
At first glance, the end of days scenario may seem more compelling and urgent than the reasons you should make an estate plan. Nevertheless, there is a far greater likelihood your family will be affected by whether you execute certain estate planning documents than an apocalyptic event. For example, your family is more likely to face things such as a terminal illness, disability of an income earner, incapacity, unforeseen funeral expenses, a reduction in emergency funds due to higher taxes, an inability to pay college tuition for children, outliving retirement funds, and the need to qualify for Medicaid to pay for nursing home care.
Many people have become so obsessed with preparing for something catastrophic, they are completely disregarding even the most basic elements of financial and estate planning. A family focused on planning for an apocalypse may be prepared to live self sufficiently for a short period of time, but may quickly find themselves in dire financial straits in the years beyond if the predicted catastrophes do not occur.
If you are concerned about a global crisis, do not neglect traditional methods of planning that are necessary to create a secure financial future for your spouse, partner or children in the event of your disability or death.
Estate Planning is Essential to Protect Your Family
Despite growing fears of a global cataclysm, the real danger to families is in the things we experience in everyday life. Tragedy can strike unexpectedly and change a family’s world forever, such as car accidents, cancer, workplace injuries, and Alzheimer’s disease. Watching a spouse, parent, child or other relative struggle when someone they love is suffering or deceased can be difficult. However, seeing family members face the consequences of a lack of estate planning is even more difficult, especially when those consequences were easily preventable. There are many instances when estate planning can make a tremendous difference for your family. Far too often, stay at home parents suffer the loss of a spouse or partner who was the family’s sole source of support. While affordable life insurance is available, those who fail to make an estate plan frequently leave their dependents without any funds to stay afloat. Without critical emergency funds, the surviving family members sometimes lose their home and often have to give up college, medical care or retirement. Other aspects of neglecting to make an estate plan can also disrupt a family’s income, such as failure to create a business succession plan or engage in asset protection strategies to protect a family farm.
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