**This post has been sponsored by Mesa to bring you this experience. All opinions are 100% our own!**
One of the hardest discussions my husband and I have ever had was about our estate planning and the guardianship of our children. The thought of someone else caring for our children… Well, it means that we aren’t able or alive to do it. The thought breaks my heart. No one is as good of a parent to our children as we are. Who would manage our money? Where do our assets go? Who makes our health decisions if we are unable? The decisions are not to be made lightly, but all responsible parents have to. And it’s no fun.
A lot of people hear “estate planning” and think that only rich people should do it. Estate planning is for anyone, but especially parents, who care about their health, wealth and family.
Before our first child was born, we knew we should have some legal documents drawn up. But which ones? Find an attorney? How? Where? It’s expensive and so confusing. A Directive? What’s that? A Durable Power of Attorney? Huh? #Adulting is hard! Estate lawyers can cost $1,000+. Then you have the estate planning websites who are generally pretty cheap, but once you’ve created your documents, all you get are janky PDFs and basic instructions for signing. Then, you’re on your own for sharing and ensuring the right people have them at the right time. If they can’t be found, these documents can’t offer the help they should.
If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 64% of parents with minor children who don’t have any estate planning documents in place. I have at least 100 to-dos on my list in front of “ensuring my kids are protected and that guardianship is in place.” But, like doing your taxes or buying a house, getting your estate plan in place is an essential part of the “adulting” process.
So, what do you need? Without getting too fancy, here are three essential documents to consider getting to cover your bases:
- Healthcare Directive: This outlines what actions should (and should NOT) be taken for your health if you’re not able to make decisions yourself and identifies a loved one as your health care power of attorney to make those choices for you.
Clearly, my husband is listed, but we both also have a secondary in case he and I are both unable to make decisions. Mine is my mom and his is his dad. I want my mom making my health decisions and he does NOT want my mom making his health decisions, so it’s natural he wants his own family to do his.
- Power of Attorney for Finances: This allows someone else to manage your finances in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions yourself.
Again, this is my husband. He is the one who will make all of our financial decisions in the case that I am unable to. But, if my husband and I are both incapacitated, we have a secondary agent who would manage our finances.
- Will: This is where the protection of your family is most important—including spouses and children—by gifting your property (known as your “estate”) and making guardianship decisions.
My children are four and two. We decided that our children wouldn’t be allowed their “inheritance” (if you can call $100 inheritance) until they are 30. My husband’s father will manage the money until then, but we felt it was important for them to be old enough and have learned a little bit of “adulting” themselves before getting their $100.
Enter: Mesa. I knew it was my best bet to get my family all squared away. They offer an estate planning subscription that makes it super easy to create and share your wills, healthcare directives and powers of attorney with your family. I have so many friends who say they know they should have estate planning documents, but are too confused or don’t have the money to pay an attorney to draw them up.
I signed up on their website, filled in names, birthdates and addresses. Then, it asked me some very simple questions that laid the groundwork for all of my documents! Are you married? Do you have children? Not rocket science like some attorneys may have you believe.
The whole process took me less than 30 minutes! What’s maybe cooler than being able to do it in 30 minutes, is that it shares the digital version with the right people so they can access them when needed. And in all honesty, if anyone is in the situation where they NEED the documents, sorting through an old filing cabinet in the attic is NOT going to work out.
With Mesa, you get high-quality, state-customized documents, unlimited updates and physical and digital storage and access. It’s so easy. It’s so affordable. It’s so dumb not to do it. There’s no excuse.
I was surprised at the peace of mind I felt after signing my documents and knowing they were in the hands of the people who needed them.
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