Here's a holiday gift you probably never thought of giving: an estate plan.
No, your children weren't thrilled when you divorced their mother. They were even less thrilled a year later when you married her.
When designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain passed away earlier this year, they each died living apart from their respective spouses. The fact that they were separated had a significant impact on the administration of their estates.
When you write your estate plan, you do it with the best of intentions to make everything easier for your family. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out that way. Instead of helping to guide your loved ones in a sad time, your estate plan could cause family discord if not handled properly.
Ask a new acquaintance if they have any children, and it isn't unusual to hear answers such as these.
There's nothing more important in our lives than our children.
You have two grown sons who live near your California home.
You're young, you say. You haven't saved your first million dollars - or even your first $5,000. You don't need an estate plan, you tell your parents. After all, you're just getting started with this thing called adulting.
You're in your 40s, have happy and growing kids, some money in the bank and you've finally crossed off the one thing that's been on your to-do list forever: make an estate plan.
You've undoubtedly watched a scene in a television show or a movie where two friends are sitting at a bar and come up with a great idea for a product, or one decides to sell something of value to the other. They grab a cocktail napkin, ask the bartender for a pen and jot down their partnership agreement or bill of sale.