Excuse #4 – “There’s always tomorrow…”

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Note:  This is Excuse #4 of 5 in our important series, “5 Excuses that can Devour Your Estate & Destroy Your Family”.  To read Excuse #1, click here.

 

Well, this may be the easiest excuse that we’ve tackled in our series yet.  The “pro” in procrastination is a total con when it comes to most things in life, but it’s especially true of estate planning.  There’s nothing good that can come from waiting to handle something as important as your family’s future.  If you tend to be a bit of a procrastinator, reading our “5 Excuses that can Devour Your Estate & Destroy Your Family” article is definitely a good step in the right direction.

 

There’s no shortage of information and material out there about estate planning, so easy access to helpful resources is clearly not the problem.  A law office on every corner and the World Wide Web put an end to that.  What is the reason for procrastination around estate planning then?  I can only speak from my own personal experience.  As an estate planner who has sat in front of hundreds of clients over the years, I’ve found that most people need some guidance and direction from someone they feel they can trust before they take action.  I’ve focused on the practice of estate planning and elder law since 1985 and it can be challenging for me.  I can only imagine how terrifying the whole topic is for the average person.  Just remember, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.  The sooner you take some type of action to get the result you’re after, the sooner you’ll feel better about things.

 

That’s just me.  The better question is, “What’s stopping you from creating an estate plan?”  Only you can answer that question.  Are you overwhelmed by estate planning?  Afraid of estate planning?  Too broke to pay for a good estate plan?  Indifferent about estate planning?  A combination of all of the above?  If so, I get it.  I really and truly do.  You’re human and those are all normal and natural feelings about estate planning.  Unfortunately, none of those reasons (or excuses, based on your perspective) will protect your family when you pass on.  To the contrary, it will leave them vulnerable and at great risk of loss on many levels.  Taking action can turn the sinking ship around.

 

No one can force you to create an estate plan.  If you’re in “I don’t want to and you can’t make me” mode, you’re correct.  However, if you choose not to plan your estate, you’re also choosing the logical outcome.  You’re choosing for your assets to pass outside of a Will with zero regard for your wishes.  You’re choosing to ignore the income tax aspect of your assets.  You’re choosing to miss out on estate tax exemptions and tax breaks.  You’re choosing expensive, time consuming, and frustrating probate court.  You’re choosing the possibility of botching some of the most important documents on the face of the earth.  You’re choosing a risky do-it-yourself approach to a very complicated legal matter.  You’re choosing this and so much more harm for your family.  If you fail to create an estate plan, the state of California has one for you, and odds are very good that you won’t like it.

 

Is that really what you want?  A friend of mine often says to her sons when they’re facing an important decision, “The choice is yours.  Just make sure you can live with it – because you will.”  There are natural outcomes to every decision we do (or do not) make.  Having seen my share of heart breaking and gut wrenching catastrophes as a result of well intentioned people failing to make good choices around estate planning, I can only encourage you to take action now to get the results you desire for your family on down the road.  There are no pros for procrastination when it comes to estate planning – only cons.  Don’t be duped.

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