Memorial Day is one of America’s longest-standing, most-honored holidays. It was first instituted in 1868, when General John A. Logan, the commander in chief of an organization honoring Union Civil War veterans, wanted to commemorate all that the Union soldiers did for America.
It’s hard to tell exactly where the first Memorial Day celebrations originated. Over twenty-five locations have laid claim to the holiday. Even before the Civil War, soldiers’ graves were often decorated, and the decoration continued during the American Civil War. Scholarly efforts have tried to detangle myth from legend and discover the exact origin, but it has been difficult. Either way, the holiday is now federally-observed and an important part of the fabric of the nation. Every Memorial Day, Americans all across the country visit the graves of soldiers who died while serving in the Armed Forces.
Now, Memorial Day is a way to honor and remember the sacrifices of those who died for our freedom. In the spirit of Memorial Day, it’s important to think ahead and leave a legacy for you and your family.
“Thinking ahead,” in this context, refers to planning for life’s possibilities and eventualities. Sickness, as we all know from these COVID-19 times, can loom large on the horizon. However, there can also be real issues that pop up even when you’re perfectly healthy.
A healthcare directive is a document that will specify your wishes to doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel in the event that you’re too sick to communicate your wishes yourself.
A power of attorney is someone you entrust with the responsibility to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated. Both a directive and a POA are two documents that, in sickness, can keep you from losing more than just your health.
And in Health
Tragedy can strike even when you’re healthy. The importance of insurance cannot be overstated. Life insurance will provide your family or business with a source of income after you pass away, bridging an important financial gap.
Estate planning for SBOs (small business owners) is also vital, even if there are no storm clouds on the horizon. Your business is your life’s work, and you want to make sure it is protected, through insurance and from creditors, if something happens. Estate planning attorneys and financial advisors can help protect what you’ve worked for.
Leaving a Legacy
Though a gloomy topic, what will happen to your assets after you pass away? You do not want to die without a will, as dying intestate ensures a lengthy, painful court process that will be hard on your family. Using estate planning to leave a legacy for your kids and, if applicable, your business, is extremely important.
For Your Kids
Your last will and testament is the final say on where you want your assets distributed. You can also consider a trust, which will transfer legal title to a trustee until you want your kids to receive the asset in question (property, money, etc.).
For Your Business
You should create a succession plan for your business. It’s extremely important, especially for family-owned businesses, to contact an attorney about laying down the groundwork for what will happen to your business when you pass away.
Celebrating Memorial Day means reflecting on both the past and the future. While we should definitely commemorate what has happened, we also should look forward to leaving a legacy.
Visit our website to learn more and contact an estate planning attorney.