When clients call me to schedule an appointment for estate planning, the conversation usually starts off something like this: “I’ve been meaning to call you for the last two years and I keep getting side-tracked, but I’m finally ready!” It got me thinking, why do people put off something which is so important to protect their families? Most clients won't leave their driveway without making sure everyone is buckled in, but they will wait until their children are adults before making a will. I have been guilty of it myself, going far too long between reviews of my documents. I think these are the primary reasons people put off their estate planning:
- Denial: Some people may feel that estate planning is unnecessary because of their circumstances in life-they are young and healthy, and therefore unlikely to die, or because they do not have a significant amount of assets.
- Emotional discomfort: Estate planning often requires people to think about scary topics like the death or incapacity of themselves or their family. Sometimes these issues can be emotionally difficult to face.
- Disagreements with Spouses: Many people delay estate planning due to disagreements with their spouse regarding guardians, distribution of property, or other decisions which need to be made.
- Lack of knowledge: Some people may not be aware of the importance of estate planning or how to go about it.
- Confusion: Estate planning involves gathering information and making decisions about a variety of legal and financial matters, and some people may find it overwhelming or confusing.
- Cost: Some people may be concerned about the cost of estate planning, especially if they do not have a significant amount of assets.
- Procrastination: Estate planning takes some time, both in thought and with your lawyer, and some people may put it off simply because they do not want to deal with it.
So, how do you get started? First, read my blog post on why having a current estate plan is so important. Next, I would try to figure out what the barrier is that is holding you back and merely identifying the issue will help overcome that obstacle. Finally, you have to take action; reach out to someone that can help, like me. I can easily explain the steps and costs and demystify the process.
I have to believe if you have read this far, you recognize the need to start your estate plan, so take the first step today.