Overcoming the Overwhelm in Estate Planning Design

As estate planning attorneys, we are used to helping people who are overwhelmed with the estate design process. We have to admit it — nobody likes to think about their own death or long-term incapacity. And that’s essentially what we’re doing when designing an estate plan. Many a time I have broken out the tissue box during a design meeting.

We work through the emotion in order to put together a comprehensive estate plan, and its a sensitive area for all of us. But, it was after I became a mother that I truly experienced the overwhelming emotions that can swell up when planning for death and incapacity. That’s right, I’m an attorney and I cried when I wrote my estate plan.

Protecting My Children

When I became a parent, my entire world changed, and like most all parents, I developed a fierce drive to protect my children. After my first child was born, I redesigned our family estate plans. With our main focus changing to provide for our child, especially as a young baby, we decided that revocable trusts would be the best fit for our needs.

As I designed new trusts for us, my husband and I had to hash through the tough questions like who would we want to take care of our children in the event that we could not care for them, whether through death or incapacity.

We had to think about who can handle our kids’ money while they grew up, and especially while they are still so young. We had to think about who we would want to inherit our assets if, God forbid, our children were to die before our trusts were completed. These are gut-wrenching topics to be thinking about.

Negative Emotions

As I designed our trust documents, I found myself feeling some overwhelmingly negative emotions.

But, at the end of this whole process, I found one thing to be most surprising – I felt a huge sense of relief! Having my estate done, and providing for my most loved ones, I felt like a pile of bricks had been lifted off of my shoulders that I didn’t even know was there.

So now, when I’m working with a client who is showing signs of being overwhelmed with the emotion that can swell up during the estate planning process, I’m able to truly relate to them and better offer my hand as we walk through the process to get to the peace of mind at the end of the rainbow. And, of course, I still have my trusty box of tissues.

Julia C. McKillop

Senior Partner

Julia drafts estate plans, wills, trust agreements, and end-of-life advance directives for individuals and families across Florida. She helps people of all ages and every situation by designing personalized estate plans so that if crisis hits, her clients' wishes and needs are met.

Julia is a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law and is a senior partner at McKillop Law Firm. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Julia lived in Chile teaching English as a second language. Upon returning to the States, she worked in Miami as a paralegal, ultimately deciding to go to law school in order to put her life experiences to work as an advocate and counselor. Julia, Dan and their two young sons recently relocated to Jacksonville to join our Jacksonville team.