In the summer of 2016, my 68 year old uncle asked me about creating his will. He was concerned about what would happen to my minor cousin. Without any planning, my cousin wouldn’t receive anything when my uncle passed. If you die without a will, your state law determines who gets your money and your property. The law only recognizes your blood relatives. My uncle was worried because he had raised my cousin since she was an infant, but she was not his blood relative. He had no kids, and she was the closest to a daughter he ever had.

So when my uncle asked me to help him, I was excited that he was ready to start planning. I interviewed him about his wishes and asked him to consider several scenarios. After our conversation, he said he wanted to think about it and would contact me when he made his decisions. The summer months went by and before I realized it, we were in fall of 2016. A month before Thanksgiving, my uncle had a fatal accident. He never called me to finalize his plan. When I got the phone call about the accident, I couldn’t believe it. Beyond the shock of losing a close family member, I felt guilty about his incomplete plan.

I believed that I didn’t have to push my uncle into making decisions and could wait because he was healthy. At that time, I thought I would be able to finalize the paperwork when I saw him for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, by Thanksgiving 2016, it was too late.I share this story because it is a mistake to postpone important conversations. Planning for your loved ones is essential and should be done as early as possible. You can always change your will. The best time to plan is today because life is unpredictable.

Take action now to write your will and plan to protect your loved ones.