The Importance of Thoughtful Estate Planning

The foundation of any estate planning is formed by writing a will. Sadly more than 50 percent of Americans have not taken the time to craft that end of life document.

The latest tragic story is unfolding in Minneapolis with the estate of the rock legend, Prince. Prince’s estate is estimated to be in excess of $350 million dollars and he left no legacy instructions. The probate court and his sister are sorting things out, and experts say it could take years.

Perhaps this conversation is in the forefront of my mind after walking through my own Mom’s passing. Mom’s end of life documents were in place, but looking back now, I wish we had reviewed them with Mom one more time to be sure we were clear on her final intentions.

Experts suggest that we should review our end of life instructions at least five times.

Early adulthood. Creating a will early in life—especially after marriage and children—is critical. The key issue is guardians for the children if both parents die.

When the children grow up and leave home. Parents now have a better idea of their own needs.

After retirement. We know our needs, and the needs of our children and grandchildren.

The early 70s. This is a good time to refresh end of life instructions based on physical needs, and also the needs of our families.

The 80s. This is the time to have one more look at our wills. So much can change and it is wise to adjust the instructions to reflect those changes.

Commonly, wills include specific bequests for charities. Every year The Navigators receive bequests (end of life gifts) from friends of the ministry. We are aware of some of these legacy gifts, but many arrive unannounced.

If you are intending to leave a portion of your estate to The Navigators, and you feel comfortable letting us know, please email us at, or call 1-888-283-0157. We would love to keep a simple record of your intent so we can be sure to serve you well.

PS.  If you need more information on estate planning or writing a will we want to help.  Simply request the free wills planning workbook and book about important life and death decisions.  Fill out the information at (include your mailing address in the comments field) and we will send them to you.

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