August is car month in our neighborhood, and for car aficionados and amateurs alike, it is a fantastic time of year. Car collectors bring their most prized possessions to share with us from around the globe, and each event during the Councours d’Elegance is more awe-inspiring than the next. From an Estate Planning perspective, we see these prized possessions and we see planning opportunity. As with all important assets, just as we must care for those assets during our lifetimes, we had better have a plan for them when we are no longer. Whether we are talking about an unbelievably flashy car or your day-to-day family car, all assets need a plan.
With each fancy car that passes you in your neighborhood this month, make it a friendly reminder to think whether the owner has secured the future of that asset. Cars, although they are just tangible objects, are a lifelong passion for some individuals – and those dearly collected prized cars should have a definite home when the owner is no longer. Whether donated for charity or passed down to a family member, the owner has worked hard to fulfill a dream, and there is no better way to share your legacy than passing your dreams down the line.
The same goes for your every-day SUV in which the kids are toted around, or the snazzy weekend car that dad gets to take out to Cannery Row on the weekends. Any asset that belongs to you needs to be planned for. The plan need not be elaborate or complicated. The plan just needs to be clear, and drafted into your Estate Planning documents. With a comprehensive Estate Plan, you will have a Living Trust which allows you to create a detailed list of gifts and bequests. The reality is that if you do not have a Living Trust, your assets will end up in the hands of the Probate Court Judge, and that system is simply inefficient, expensive, and imperfect. We can make all the decisions while we are alive, and we can empower the people of our choice to carry out our wishes – by preparing an Estate Plan. There is no reason to delay, and it is a necessity in this day in age.
Enjoy the glitz and glam of car week – and let it be a reminder that we should all take a moment to create a plan for our assets. We work hard for everything we have, big or small, expensive or sentimental. Take care of yourself and your loved ones with an Estate Plan. Then you can enjoy the drive in peace and with confidence.