Planning a Barbecue Is Like Planning Your Estate

Memorial Day weekend signals the beginning of summer and backyard barbecues. Although a cookout may be casual, good planning is crucial. This is true for estate planning, too. A little planning goes a long way to prevent leaving you and your loved ones in a pickle:

The Menu – What Do You Own?

When you plan a barbecue, one of the first steps is to decide what foods to include on the menu. If you buy the burgers and hot dogs but forget the buns, the menu and party may be ruined. 

Similarly, in estate planning, you first need to determine what you own. Estate Planning Attorneys usually provide a checklist to inventory all assets, from property to bank accounts, noting if they are owned individually or jointly with your spouse or another person. Strategies can then be suggested to provide for your loved ones and achieve any other goals you may have, such as gifting, minimizing taxes and distributing assets.

The Invitations – Who Are Your Beneficiaries?

Just like you choose your barbecue guests, you’ll need to decide who inherits your assets. It’s not just about family; it could include friends or charities. You may wish to provide grandchildren with incentives to attend college or start a business.  If a child has an addiction, you may decide not to provide them with an outright inheritance, and instead, create a trust designed to prevent them from using your hard-earned money to support their habit. 

Serving Sizes – How Much Does Each Person Get?

At your cookout, you don’t serve the same portions to everyone. Your six-foot-tall adult son will likely need a bigger portion than your two-year-old granddaughter.  Similarly, in estate planning, you might not want to divide your assets equally among beneficiaries. We can help you tailor distributions based on individual needs and circumstances, avoiding potential conflicts down the line.

Depending on what you own, it may also be important to give certain accounts or property to one beneficiary and not the others. For example, if you have a property or business in which only one child is actively engaged, splitting ownership among multiple siblings may set them up for fights and destroy relationships.

Extra Touches – Personalizing Your Plan

Just as you add extra touches such as umbrellas, tablecloths, or strings of lights to make your barbecue special, you can personalize your estate plan, such as writing letters to loved ones and specifying who gets sentimental items, such as jewelry or artwork. These gestures can make your plan more meaningful and help prevent family disputes.

Lettuce help you plan: call us so we can ketchup!

Don’t wait until you’re in hot water to plan your estate. Just like a well-prepared barbecue, a thoughtfully crafted estate plan ensures everyone’s satisfaction. Call us today to spill the beans about your estate planning goals, and we will help you create an estate plan that will satisfy your craving to provide a secure future for yourself and your family.

Andrea L. Jakob, PA is located at 12401 Orange Drive, Suite 219 in Davie. They can be reached at 954-862-1479 or on the at