By Libby Banks, The Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC

With Valentine’s Day here, I’ve been wondering how to show my family I love them. Of course, estate planning was one of my first thoughts (right after chocolate)!
Estate planning truly is a gift to your family and loved ones. A proper estate plan makes it easier on your loved ones if you become incapacitated and when you are no longer here. Without a cohesive and thoughtful estate plan, you may leave a gigantic mess that your family may have to spend huge sums of money and lots of time and effort to clean up.

If you are incapacitated, they will have to petition the court to be appointed to care for you and take charge of your finances. That proceeding, called conservatorship, will involve at least two attorneys, even if the family all agrees on who is to serve and what is to happen. On your death, they will have to file a probate proceeding with the court, which will take more time and expense to wrap up than it takes to administer a proper plan.

Even worse, your estate may result in a family fight. Time after time in family estate fights, my clients have said they would never speak to some of their family again or lamented that the messy estate issues were breaking the family apart. I value family highly and these cases broke my heart. I went into estate planning to help clients avoid these messy fights.

Putting an estate plan in place shows your love by easing the burden of administering your estate and by eliminating or minimizing potential arguments and controversies. When there’s nothing to fight about, it’s much easier for your loved ones to think loving thoughts about you, and to love and support each other during the difficult time of your incapacity or death.

Show your love by getting your estate plan in place. (And husbands, you may want to do something besides an estate plan for your wife for Valentine’s Day!) If you are ready to show your love with an estate plan, you can call my office for a complimentary initial consultation at 602-375-6752 or inquire via my website at