Valentine’s Day is the season of red hearts, chocolate, and flowers. It’s easy to get caught up in the V-Day rush. You’ve probably made plans to go on a date (or not), and the season of love may have you thinking about your assets and who you want to have them. If it’s not getting you thinking about that, you should. All too often, people let love cloud their judgment. It’s not difficult to understand. When you love someone, you want to help them, and that might lead you to make financial decisions you regret later on. That is why it is important to consult with an estate planner before you decide to transfer any assets or make big decisions. You don’t want to end up doing something you regret.
Here are some ways in which love might cloud your judgment when it comes to your estate:
Your home and personal belongings are probably among the most important material things to you. When you think of what you want done with them after you’re gone, you likely want them to go to someone you love who will take care of them. We all love our relatives, but not all of them are fiscally responsible. When you’re considering who you should pass on your assets to, think through the scenario fully and take an objective look. Because, often, we have a subjective view of our family, you may want to consult an estate planning attorney about your proposed transferee.
Powers of Attorney
Your powers of attorney for finances and healthcare make decisions for you when you’re too incapacitated to make them yourself. They decide where your money goes and what it goes to pay off, and they also decide what happens to you in the hospital. Needless to say, these are huge responsibilities. And they require a cool head and a lot of focus. You might love your spouse, but you also might think that they wouldn’t be the right fit as POA. That’s not an easy conversation to have, and an estate planner can help you with that. But one thing you do not want to do is make someone your POA just because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.
If you have minor children, you probably have some idea of who you would leave in charge of them in the even that something happened to you. Make sure you write this down in your estate plan. A guardian is the person who will shape your child and help them become an adult. That has life-changing implications. When selecting your guardian, think about how you want your child’s future to play out. Consult with the proposed guardian before putting them into your estate plan.
New People Too Soon
So, you’ve met someone, and you really like them. And that’s great! It’s always a good thing to be able to envision a future with someone. But, not to be a wet blanket, make sure that you wait a little while before giving them a position of power in your estate plan. You don’t want to rush into anything too quickly. For example, if you meet someone and get caught in a whirlwind romance, you might decide to leave them your house. However, if you change the paperwork, they end up turning out to be less-than-ideal, and you die without making the change back, that could spell disaster. You’ve just given someone you don’t even like a house. The point is, don’t rush into anything when it comes to your assets.
This article probably isn’t the most fun Valentine’s Day read, but it is important. It’s a shame when people allow their love to cloud their judgment and cause them to make decisions that can harm them or their family. Talk to an attorney before making any major, spur-of-the-moment decisions. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do in a rash of decision-making, it’s your estate plan.