What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase estate planning? Do you think about wills, trusts, or a task on your to-do list that you know you should really get around to? Do you think about your family, and how you’ll provide for them? Do you think about how your assets are organized?
Different people have different end-of-life goals, but almost all of us have one thing in common: we each have people in our lives whom we love.
Whether you have a big family and circle of friends or just one other person you care for, chances are there is someone whose life you influence, and who will be affected when you die by the way you do or do not plan your estate.
(Related: Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?)
Unfortunately, most estate planning is focused primarily on money, and not on people. When we were writing our recently published book, Fearless: Facing the Future Confidently with Relational Estate Planning® we wanted our families, clients, friends, and community to understand how much estate planning with their loved ones in mind can positively impact those relationships. Relational Estate Planning® is using your end-of-life plan to focus on your loved ones’ well-being, rather than simply focusing on yourself and on how you’ll distribute your assets.
There are many ways you can use the law to care for those you hold dear beyond a simple will or trust. Using a combination of different estate planning tools, you can protect and provide for your loved ones, avoid family conflict, leave a legacy behind, preserve special and important memories, and relieve burdens related to your passing that have the potential to overwhelm your loved ones. Relational Estate Planning® has the potential to be your final selfless gift of love and care toward others.
Relational Estate Planning® does not appeal to everyone, however. It takes forethought, soul-searching, intentionality, and work that traditional estate planning doesn’t require. It is self-sacrificial by nature because it’s for other people. But we’ve seen that those who are willing to set up a relationship-centered plan experience more confidence, peace of mind, and sense of purpose about the future than those who focus solely on their assets at the end of their lives.
If you are someone who wants:
- assurance about your loved ones and their future,
- confidence that you’ve done everything you can to meet the needs of those around you,
- the end of your life to be focused on your relationships and not your assets,
- the relief of knowing you’ve set your family up for success in your absence, or
- the certainty that you’ve used your assets in meaningful ways,
then Relational Estate Planning® is for you.