Whether we realize it or not, if we fail to plan, were planning to fail.
In my 15 years of practice, I’ve heard a lot of excuses as to why people avoid estate planning. Before you stop reading, let me address some of them straight on and try to convince you why avoiding your estate plan may not be the best choice for you and your family.
1. “I don’t really have that much so it’s not important to setup a will.” If its not important, why do you work, why do you invest, why do you budget? Of course this is important and you probably put this off because it seems like a hassle. It can be done quickly and inexpensively and your family deserves to be protected, don’t they?
Also, if you have dependent children at home, you will need to make sure you have a plan in place that addresses their care if anything happens to you. This plan needs to take into account not just who would raise them in the event of your death, but also who would take care of them in the short term if there was an accident, and how you would want them raised by the people you’ve chosen as guardians.
If you do not have dependent children at home, even if you do not have assets you will need to have legal documents in place to ensure that health care decisions and financial decisions can be made for you in the way you want in the event of an accident.
2. “I’m young and this stuff is irrelevant to me.” It is relevant to you if you have people you care about: a mother, a father, a grandfather, aunt or uncle who have not taken the time to set up protection for themselves and their family. If your family members do not have an adequate estate plan, you may be the one that is left with the mess of cleaning up his or her estate.
3. “I have a lot of assets so it’s going to be a hassle.” If you think it’s going to be a hassle to set up your estate plan now, imagine what it will be like for your loved ones if you become incapacitated or die. I’m sorry to be blunt but I must nudge you here. If you have significant assets you should begin your estate planning immediately. There is no time to waste. None of us knows how much time we have left. Putting this off can have catastrophic consequences.
4. “My personal situation is complicated.” If you think your situation is complicated and will involve tough decisions, for instance children from multiple messages, five ex spouses, and so on, imagine what it will be like to have your estate go through probate. The probate court with all the efficiency and effectiveness of a state run program will make all of those tough decisions for you without the benefit of your input. I hope you picked up on my sarcasm.
5. “I don’t even know what probate is and why should I care. I’ll be dead.” Probate is the process a court uses to establish to validity of a will if there is one and recognize the executor. If there is no will, court will appoint an administrator of it’s choosing to handle the affairs required by probate.
6. “I completed my will a few years ago. I’m all set.”
If you already have a Will, Trust, Health Care Directives and/or a Power of Attorney in place, you may think you don’t need to come in and meet with me about your family’s legal planning.
Here’s why you would want to schedule an appointment anyway.
The reality is that estate planning documents by themselves are meaningless to your family if they are not kept up to date throughout your lifetime and if your assets are not owned in the right way to keep your family out of Court.
If there have been any changes in your life, the law or your assets since you put in place those documents and the documents have not been updated, come on in to see me so we can make sure they still meet your family’s needs.
7. “I can’t afford to plan.”
The last reason you may be avoiding meeting with an estate planning attorney is that you may think you cannot afford to plan. That may or may not be true. But you don’t have to worry about that yet because when you meet with an attorney at Faulkner Law, you are first going to look at whether you need to plan during our Legacy Planning Meeting.
If it turns out you do need to plan, we will work together to make it affordable for you and your family.
If you do not need to plan, you leave the meeting feeling great about having done everything you can to make sure things will be as easy as possible for your loved ones if and when something happens to you.