Meredith’s friends are all getting married and starting to have children, but she is just now finishing up school. They’ve all been talking about getting their estate plans in order and Meredith never really understands how they’re able to afford to do that. One night Meredith and Cristina are out to drinks and Cristina is telling Meredith about how her and her husband are doing their estate plan since they are about to get married. Meredith finally asks how they are able to afford that. She always thought doing an estate plan was expensive and took a lot of time. Cristina tells her that is a common misconception and that it has gotten a lot easier in modern times.
Meredith thinks about what she would even need to do estate planning for, and then she remembers once she heard that you need to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you in the event of a medical emergency. Then she also thinks about the fact that she is looking at buying her first home right after she graduates from her graduate program. Meredith asks Cristina what she should do and what documents she might need to accomplish this. Cristina tells her that if she has any assets then she should probably make a will, so in the case of death her property won’t need to go through probate court. Then Cristina tells her that to designate someone to make medical decisions for her in case of incapacitation, she needs to make a power of attorney.
Meredith is a little overwhelmed with all of the things she’ll need to do, but Cristina tells her that it’s really easy to look up different lawyers in her area that specialize in doing estate planning. She says that there are even lawyers who do most of their business over the computer. With the ability to video chat, there are more opportunities to meet and discuss her needs at home. There is even technology that allows you to fill out and sign documents on your computer, and electronic notaries to make the documents official. All of these new developments have really made the process of estate planning easy for everyone.
While Cristina has helped ease Meredith’s mind on the process of estate planning, Meredith is still worried about the price. She always thought only rich people with a lot of money did estate planning. Cristina tells her that estate planning is actually more complicated for people who own a lot of estate or have a lot of money because more work has to be done to get everything in order. She tells Meredith that for just a few documents, it’s actually very affordable. She explains that she can also inquire about prices that a lawyer plans to charge even before she picks one to help her. Then Cristina warns her that it can actually be more expensive for her and her family members if she doesn’t do an estate plan. Her property would have to go through probate court which can rack up fees, and if she doesn’t have someone readily able to make medical decisions on her behalf, it can waste valuable time needed for her care.
After everything that Meredith has learned about estate planning, she has decided that she is definitely going to do it. She searches for a lawyer who can help her out that she really likes and has affordable prices. She is able to designate her mother as power of attorney, and tells her lawyer that she will be back after she purchases her home so that they can get a will started. Meredith is very happy with her decision to start estate planning.