It’s the season for everything pumpkin, Hocus Pocus reruns, and “accidentally” eating all the trick-or-treat candy before the actual trick-or-treaters arrive. It’s the time when I’m reminded that the scariest notion of all is not Dracula, ghosts, or even the overpriced costumes, but rather the downright terrifying reality that nearly every six out of 10 Americans do not have estate planning documents in place. Despite the numerous benefits, advantages, and financial savings that comes with a proper estate plan, it’s all too common to push the process off to the equivalent of the dusty, cobwebby attic of your to-do list. Here are five scary excuses I’ve heard as to why people procrastinate creating an estate plan:
I’ll be dead, so I won’t be around to care.
A friend’s mother told them this when my friend brought up estate planning. The mother has a point…I guess. Yes, after she dies she won’t be able to “care” about where her assets go. However, most of us would like to have a set plan of where our hard-earned money and personal property will go and to whom. Why? Because we care while we’re living and like to think we’re taking care of the ones we love even after we’re gone. So, why wouldn’t she (even as an act of love) take a simple measure to save her loved ones money (and time) instead of dealing with the sluggish probate process that would occur if she were to die intestate (without a will)?
I don’t own enough assets to need an estate plan.
I hear this one all the time and it’s terrifying to think someone would sacrifice their right to pass along their estate (as small or as big as it may be) as they choose. The fact is that having a small bank account, minor children, owning a home (of any size), or even having a pet is enough to necessitate estate planning…if even just to be prepared. Of course the larger and more complex the estate, the more tools and documents may be needed, but that’s why you need to have an experienced estate planer to help determine the tools you need.
I don’t have time right now to do estate planning.
Unnerving and chilling. Sure, estate planning doesn’t sound like the most fun thing to deal with on top of everything else you have going on in your life. But, the time it takes to create an estate plan will be significantly less than the time it will cost your family if your estate goes through probate. Additionally, most (good) estate planning attorneys will work around YOUR schedule. They are willing to make house calls and conduct conversations essential to crafting the estate plan over the phone or email—whatever works best for YOU.
It’s too expensive to make an estate plan.
Eerily wrong. It will almost certainly be more expensive for your family and loved ones if you die intestate (without a will). It will not only cost them monetarily, but also emotionally as the process can be shockingly slow, tedious, and can create unnecessary conflict. Part of living is loving, so show your family, friends, and favorite charities the love by taking the time to craft an estate plan.
I don’t even know where to start, so I’m not going to.
Alarmingly unnerving. Getting started on your estate plan is actually incredibly easy. Use my free (without obligation) Estate Plan Questionnaire. It’s an excellent tool for organizing all the essential information you (and your spouse, if applicable) and your estate planner need to have on hand in order to reach your estate planning goals.