Top Estate Planning Excuses

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Maybe it’s time for procrastination to overtake baseball as America’s favorite pastime.

It’s often said that baseball is America’s pastime. Maybe we should change that to procrastination or excuse making. How many important tasks do we put on to-do lists, then forget about them? Some things may never even make it to the to-do list because we think it’s easier to make excuses than take action. It’s not. When it comes to estate planning, some excuses prevent people from making very important decisions.

I don’t like to talk about dying.

Yes, it’s uncomfortable to talk about death.

Then let’s talk about life.

While your Last Will and Testament takes effect after your death, it affects the lives of your loved ones. Without up-to-date estate planning documents, your family may be left scrambling to settle your estate. Long-lasting feuds may be kindled or lawsuits filed. Assets may lose value due to mismanagement or malfeasance. A valid Will may minimize the risk that your estate will be difficult to settle.

Other important estate planning documents affect you during your lifetime. A durable power of attorney names an agent to represent you if necessary. Your medical power of attorney ensures your doctors have someone to consult with about your medical treatment. If you own interest in a business, buy-sell agreements help keep the company rolling if you are incapacitated, pass away, or are unable to be involved in business operations.

I don’t have enough time to meet with an estate planning attorney.

Meeting with an estate planning attorney should take only a few hours of your time, even if your estate seems complicated. The time invested in working on your estate plan should yield a great return: your family benefits from the guidance you provide in your estate plan.

Sometimes it’s more stressful to anticipate something than to actually do it. Once you reach the decision to meet with an attorney, make an appointment and add it to your calendar. Now you no longer must worry about whether you have time to meet with an attorney. The appointment is already on your calendar.

I don’t have a lot of property or assets.

Keep in mind that your Will and other estate planning documents do more than distribute your earthly possessions to your loved ones:

  • Up-to-date estate planning documents may protect your family from a lengthy probate.
  • If your children are still minors, you choose who will care for them if you can’t.
  • Tax reduction strategies may help reduce your estate’s potential tax bill.
  • You can select executors, agents, or personal representatives.

Since some documents have little to do with your property, the size of your estate doesn’t matter. Having these documents in place allows you to maintain some control over your life, gives you a voice, and protects your loved ones.

I have more important things to do.

Let’s look at some of the things estate planning does:

  • Provides thoughtful guidance to your loved ones.
  • Spares your family some of the painful decisions that may need to be made.
  • Often reduces costs and legal fees that are associated with settling an estate.
  • May protect your family’s future by safeguarding your assets.
  • Tells your family and medical providers what medical treatments you want – and don’t want.

If you are over 18 years of age, own anything, have any money in the bank, or want to have a say in your healthcare in the event of sudden critical illness, then your estate plan is one of the most important things you can address.

Take action today.

There are a million excuses for ignoring your estate plan. But there’s one really good reason to develop a solid plan – your family and loved ones.