Father’s Day is upon us, and as a father, I am grateful for my two beautiful and talented daughters, aged 10 and 8. Jaren and Jade are the bright lights of my life, and my wife Sonya and I focus on providing for, instructing and instilling core values within our girls in order to equip them to be successful and contributing members of society. However, as important as nurturing and instruction provided by a parental unit is, I feel a father’s natural instinct is to protect his family. I do not know one father who would not lay down his own life for the life of his child. It is an instinct given by our Creator to keep our kids safe.
Most readers of this article would agree that protecting one’s family is a given, but let me ask you: if you are not able, who will care for your family and how? I know it’s probably not comfortable to talk about death around Father’s Day, but as a financial planner, the one guarantee I can offer is that each of our lives will come to an end.
Planning for his family’s security remains the ultimate way a father can exercise his protective instinct and demonstrate his love. The majority of people I meet with feel that estate planning is “only for wealthy people.” They have a myriad of excuses like “I can’t afford it,” or “I just don’t have the time.” Let me encourage you as a father of children, regardless of their age, to get your details in order. Dads, with input from our spouses, we need to answer the tough questions: who is going to watch over the children if something happens to both of us? Who is going to pay our bills if we are disabled? Who can we trust to watch over proceeds from life insurance and pay for future education, college expenses or wedding costs if we aren’t here?
All of these questions can be addressed in simple estate planning documents. There are four essential documents you need to have in place:
- A Will explaining your wishes
- Durable Power of Attorney for health care decisions
- Durable Power of Attorney for financial decisions
- A Trust for personal control over your assets and distribution of those assets
If you need guidance, you will want to consult an estate planning attorney or a qualified professional with expertise in this area. Most of these documents can also be produced at a discounted rate through reputable Internet outlets.
As fathers, protecting our families is as natural as breathing; but planning for our demise isn’t. From one father to another, be sure to take the time to make the tough decisions. Get the necessary documents in place to ensure that your family is protected now and for every future Father’s Day.
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