A “Bucket” List is a list of things that people want to do before they kick the bucket. It usually contains daredevil or exotic activities, like skydiving or visiting Paris. Some people have started to create summer bucket lists — things they hope to do during the upcoming summer. My summer bucket list is both: I want to complete our estate plan before I kick the bucket and before the end of summer.
I recently attended my son’s graduation from preschool — a practice I used to think was kind of silly. Until I was one of the parents in attendance. They play a meaningful role in our lives, marking the time that has passed so quickly.
One thing that I thought we would do before my son was in kindergarten was to have my Will and my husband’s Will in place. Believe it or not, but we don’t have our estate plan in order.
What’s that they say about the cobbler’s children?
I could list off all of the excuses I made to myself as to why we didn’t get this done. One of the reasons why I wrote about What Happens If You Don’t Choose a Guardian? was for me. I wanted to know what would happen if my husband and I died without a Will. I don’t care about our property and assets nearly as much as I care about what would happen to our children.
Thankfully, we have provided for our children through life insurance policies, but we have not named guardians for them. We also haven’t created trusts or named trustees for the funds that would be dispersed from our life insurance. We also haven’t done any tax planning, which would make it easier to use the tax advantages available to married couples.
All of those concerns should be addressed with a thorough estate plan — one that names our children’s guardian, holds their assets in trust until they are able to make their own financial decisions, and gives our assets tax protection so our children can inherit as much as possible.
I know that thinking about death is a pretty morbid lens in which to view my child’s preschool graduation, but the truth of the matter is that I wouldn’t be thinking about death if I had already done our estate plan. To that end, I’m putting it on my summer “bucket list” of things I would like to do. That way, I won’t spend my son’s first day of kindergarten thinking about what would happen to him if anything happens to us.