Reasons People Don’t Do Estate Planning

Everyone who prepares an estate plan says the same thing: “I’m so relieved to get this done . . . it’s been on my to-do list for years!” So, why don’t people get their estate plan done when they first think of it? Here are the reasons our lawyers have heard the most:

1. I don’t have enough stuff to require an estate plan. This is never a good reason. An “estate plan” isn’t just about what you have but how people take care of you if you become incapacitated. For example, who should make health care decisions for you if you’re incapacitated? Also, your estate has to be dealt with, regardless of what you have. Some of the most contentious estates are those where there is not a lot of money. This is because your stuff has sentimental value to people, whether you know it or not and whether it has monetary value or not. Providing a clear plan for your estate – regardless of the size – is important.

2. I don’t like thinking about death. Of course you don’t. No one does. Unfortunately, it is not a possibility but an eventuality and it is irresponsible not to plan for it. The key is to get it done in a way that is palatable for you – whether that is meeting with a lawyer you like or doing it online.

3. My kids get along and there won’t be any problems. We love hearing this but the fact of the matter is that the death of loved one brings up a lot of emotions – grief, regret, greed, etc. Oftentimes these emotions overwhelm commonsense and long-dormant issues arise between family members. An estate plan gives your kids a game plan so they don’t have to agree on (or even discuss) everything along the way.

4. I don’t want to spend the money. Fair. It can be expensive to hire a lawyer, but websites like Orbit Wills make it as easy as possible to get all of the necessary documents done for an affordable flat fee.

5. I don’t get it. This makes sense. Estate planning can be confusing and overwhelming. But through talking with a financial advisor, attorney, or accountant – or even just researching this stuff online – you can educate yourself. Websites like Orbit Wills walks you through the steps and makes it understandable.

Published 10/07/2017.