Estate planning carries a clear value for those who are leaving significant assets to their heirs. Having a plan in place can reduce the taxes that need to be paid, limit the chances for disputes between heirs and provide guidance to the family during a difficult time.
That said, the statistics show that most people do not have an estate plan. Why is this?
They’re going to do it later
The biggest reason people give is that they’re just procrastinating and planning to do it later. They also know that having an estate plan is valuable. They’re just assuming they’ll have years or decades to do it. The risk is that, if they’re wrong, their families could be left with no plan at all.
Writing a will seems very easy
Some people put it off because they assume they can write out a basic will in an afternoon. It feels easy and so there’s no pressure. The truth, though, is that an estate plan should be very complex. It goes beyond a will and may include things like trusts, advance directives and powers of attorney.
They don’t know where to get started
Finally, people often say that they want to make an estate plan and they know how necessary it is, but they’re not sure how or where to begin. It’s intimidating. As a result, they often think about it, but they never take that next step and start the process.
If you fall into one of these categories, it’s important to consider why estate planning is valuable and how it can help to do it in advance. You just need to know what legal options you have.