(NBC) – When her mom died somewhat unexpectedly last month, Jaydee Pohs was overcome by grief, then overwhelmed by frustration.
“We can’t even mourn our own mom right now,” Pohs said. “We are too busy trying to take care of her estate. That’s hard!”
Especially hard because her mother left no will, no trust, no estate planning whatsoever.
“We had to leave my mom while she was dying in the hospice house to try and get more paperwork done for her estate,” Pohs said.
Legal experts say estate planning doesn’t have to be complicated or costly.
“An estate plan in it’s simplest form is a road map for your loved ones,” attorney Danielle Webb said.
Webb has written for dozens of clients.
“A good estate plan will include not only a will but a health care power of attorney and a living will,” Webb said.
She says there are plenty of resources out there to help, but admits the hard part is getting everybody to the table to talk about it.
“What I encourage people to do is approach their aging parents and say you are helping me if you could write this down,” Webb said.
Which is what Jaydee Pohs wishes she had pushed harder for.
“You have every emotion you could ever have because you are about to lose your loved one and you have to deal with everything else on top of it,” Pohs said.
Legal experts say estate planning’s especially important for parents of small children, making sure they end up with a legal guardian of the parents’ choice.
Also, whatever estate planning you’ve put in writing, keep the original someplace safe: either in a safe deposit box, with the attorney who helped you draw it up, or with a trusted loved one.
And, remember, all 50 states have laws that determine how your estate is distributed if you don’t.