Ladies – Estate Planning Can Be Good For Your Health

March 2017

In honor of International Woman’s Day, I thought it was important to pose this question: did you know having a well thought out estate plan can help build a solid foundation for your health? Especially if you’re 50 or older – there are guidelines to follow if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Let’s take a look at a few of them…and the sooner, the better.

  • Get lots of sleep – How are you ever going to reach REM if you don’t have your personal affairs in order? Trust me, the minute you start the planning process, you’ll have less weighing on your mind and find it easier to sleep like a baby. At a minimum, you need to have a Will, Financial Power of Attorney, and Health Care documents. You may even implement a Trust or create a list to distribute your tangible personal property. When your documents are signed, it’s like an all-natural sleep aid!
  • Focus on your mind, body, and spirit. This reminds me of yoga. I’ve been told that it increases our concentration, strengthens muscles, and reduces stress. Are you reluctant to give it a try thinking your body’s too inflexible for some of those poses? The good news is ANYONE can handle the estate planning process. You’ll feel at peace with yourself for having a thoughtful plan in place. Let’s leave the legacy that you’ve always contemplated and set the tone for your loved ones. My heart rate just went down knowing you’re going to get your ducks in a row!
  • Go get the recommended health screenings. Scheduling a colonoscopy? Make sure your beneficiaries are up-to-date. Are you in need of a mammogram? Periodically screening your nominated fiduciaries (just because they got the “all clear” last year, doesn’t mean the same is true this year). Bone density scan in your future? Just like a little calcium and Vitamin D, touching base with your attorney can be good preventative planning. It’s time for your annual checkup!
  • Get plenty of exercise. The brain works and behaves a lot like a muscle. Let’s keep it active and tackle the tough issues. Are you part of a blended family? Do you want to avoid probate? Will estate taxes be owed at your death? Should you make annual exclusion gifts this year or are you ready to make taxable gifts? Are there better assets to leave to charity versus your family? Are you facing business succession planning issues? This can all lead to #5…
  • Make sure and have fun. Laughing and enjoying life can lead to a healthier you. The estate planning process is not only pleasant, but it borders on fun! Pick an attorney that you can trust and have confidence in. Ask tough questions and expect clear and easy-to-understand answers. The attorney should be able to ballpark the cost of implementing a plan, all based on your goals and objectives – who can’t smile at that?
  • Eat healthy and drink sensibly. Let’s imagine…you’re sitting around the dinner table with your extended family. No need to pass around the “topic” jar when you start talking about how you recently updated your estate plan. Your family will relax knowing that your affairs are in order and that your wishes are in writing. Extra benefit: they won’t end up fighting over the china!

Whether you’re single, married, with children at home, working, or retired, it’s time we get serious about estate planning. Our health depends on it!

This post was written by Karen Schlotthauer, an attorney in our Trusts & Estates practice group.