For many people, estate planning feels intimidating. Complicated. The issues that come up can be depressing, scary, or make people anxious. Possibly some combination of all these.
I challenge you to change your perspective. Life is what it is, and we can't control things that happen to us. But we can do our best to set things up so that when (not if) times get hard, we can navigate them more skillfully.
Estate planning helps set out what should happen, if. If you die, sure - that's a big one. Who takes care of your children, who gets your assets, who manages them, how, and for how long. Estate planning addresses that. But there are other very important 'if's. What if you're away from the country and someone needs to make a decision on your behalf about your property? What if you are traveling, and someone needs to make decisions on your behalf about your minor child's healthcare? What if you are in that hypothetical coma, and someone has to make healthcare decisions for you? Who should do this work? How should they decide what to do for you? And what if, worst case, you need end-of-life decisions made on your behalf. What would you want done, or not done?
Contemplating these situations can be depressing, scary, or anxiety-inducing. But contemplated or not, they happen as life happens. So the best we can do is think ahead a bit to those most-likely difficult situations, and set out our wishes. So that when the time comes, as it will, our wishes are known. And having done this, we can move on with our busy lives more at ease.
Estate planning is a way to get some peace of mind now, knowing that we can't (and wouldn't want to) prevent life, but that we've done what we can to soften a bit from the hard edges. Those hard edges will always be jagged. There's no way to stop that. But we can reduce the turmoil and emotional distress. We can lay out a plan to support our loved ones the way we hoped. We can give them the comfort on knowing our wishes as they make difficult decisions for us. And that, put together, forms a legacy.