Estate planning lessons prompted by a three year old

question

Why are they called socks? Does the moon stay at grandma’s house? Kids ask the darnedest things and my three year old daughter is no exception.  Questions help her better understand the world and usually her questions are easy to answer. However, occasionally her inquiries require explaining something that is a little more abstract like “Is it tomorrow now?”

Recently a family friend passed away after 98 full and vibrant years.  Her memorial service was in Winston-Salem, which is where I grew up, so my daughter and I headed to the service and for a visit to grandma and grandpa’s house. 

Early into the drive, my daughter began asking questions about the memorial service. Her succession of questions led to a few whoppers: What does “dead” mean? Was she going to die? Was her brother going to die? Would she be able to walk and talk once she was dead? These are not the questions I typically think a three-year-old would ask. I responded to those questions. Then, for the next 30 minutes the car was alive with Q and A. Some questions were heavy but the majority were on par with “Why does that truck have a big bug on top?” With twenty minutes left in the trip, she fell asleep, which gave me time to reflect on her questions about death and my responses.  Realizing that I did my best to answer her questions in an honest way that she could understand, my thoughts wandered over numerous topics including making sure my estate plan was in order. 

Life events, joyous ones and sad ones, often remind us of things that we need to do for ourselves and families. If your situation has changed recently because of a marriage, birth, separation, adoption, or caring for a parent, it is worth reviewing your estate plan to ensure it reflects your wishes.   However, experiencing a life event is not a prerequisite for creating or updating an estate plan.  If it has been a while since you last updated your estate planning documents (like Wills or Power of Attorney), your account beneficiaries, and how your accounts are titled, it would be a good time to check your plan too.

At Woodward Financial Advisors, our team can help you navigate and coordinate creating or updating your estate plans. When you review your situation, we will gladly provide guidance and referrals to an estate planning attorney, if needed.

About Austin Brown

Follow me on Twitter: @WFA_Austin
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