We’ve all experienced stressful situations in one form or another (we might even be going through some right now), but there are ways to manage and cope with stress that are healthy and productive. For example, you can exercise, take vitamins, and talk to a counselor to work out stressful feelings that you might experience. There are resources out there; you just have to grab onto them. 

Financial stress is an extremely common type of stress. Will you make enough to pay the bills? Are you paying down your debt? A way to avoid financial stress is to plan ahead. This can take the form of estate planning, which is the ultimate way to plan ahead and avoid hiccups down the road. Here’s how you can avoid stress through estate planning: 

Plan Ahead for Your Kids 

When you’re thinking of your kids, you might not immediately jump to your worst-case scenario, which is that something happens and they are left without you. Unfortunately, those things happen, and it is important to be prepared in the event of them. In your estate plan, you can select guardianship for your kids. Pick the guardian who will be most beneficial to your kids’ mental and physical health. Choose the person who you could see them with every day. Make sure you consult with your proposed guardian before making them the guardian, however.

Plan Ahead for Your Health

Another “worst case” scenario involves health concerns and problems. You might be healthy now, but in your old age that might not be the case. When you’re considering what you want doctors and nurses to do with your body and decisions, you can make a healthcare directive. This gives doctors, hospitals, and medical staff the ability to follow your instructions, even if you are too incapacitated at the time to give them yourself. These directives can include principles you hold dearly to yourself. 

Plan Ahead for College 

College is an important educational milestone in anyone’s life. You want to make sure that the people you love get to go to college, and if you can help them in any way, that is what you would want. By setting aside a tax-advantaged savings plan, you can put aside the funds you need for your loved one to go to college. The IRS has specific plans that you can use that give you tax credits in exchange for saving for tuition. These plans can be partial or in full regarding tuition payment. They are a good way to provide for your family’s higher education.

Save Your Family Stress 

If you love your family, you will want to save them stress. If you die without a proper estate plan, you will subject your family to probate court. Probate court involves a judge sitting on the bench dividing up your property. He or she will first use your assets to pay off your creditors, and then he or she will give your family what’s left. It is an inartful way to divide your belongings, and it rarely puts your family out ahead as the winner. Probate court is a long, expensive, and drudging process. Having an estate plan will let you avoid this process. 

Financial Planning

Lastly, having an estate plan allows you to financially prepare for every eventuality. You can select a power of attorney of finances who is a trusted individual. This individual is responsible enough to make decisions for you, and he or she will help you manage your finances if you are in a situation where you are not strong enough to do it yourself. This gives you a peace of mind about your financial health, even when your physical health is less-than-ideal.

When you’re thinking about Stress Awareness month, you should remember that a major part to fighting against stress is planning ahead and making sure that you are prepared for any and every eventuality that you can be. Estate planning is a great way to fight stress way ahead of time.