When you talk to people about estate planning, you usually find out two interesting things. First and foremost, they understand that estate planning is important and they know that they will need at least a will to pass their assets on to their family. Second, you’ll find out that they haven’t done it yet.
The truth is that the majority of Americans have not put a will in place and do not have an estate plan. There are those, undoubtedly, who just feel that it isn’t important. But most people know that it is and they know that they will need that estate plan eventually. So why don’t they have one?
They don’t know how to begin
One potential reason is that people just find the whole process to be too complex and it feels intimidating and overwhelming. They don’t know how to get started, they don’t know what documents they need, and they may not even know what assets they own.
They’re procrastinating it
An even more common example is when people are simply procrastinating their estate planning. They want to write a will, but they’re putting it off for another day, perhaps because they don’t think that they need one until they’re older. Someone who is in their 50s may say that they’ll get to work on their estate plan in the next decade or two. There’s an obvious risk here because you can never guarantee exactly how long you have, but people will take this approach.
They think they don’t have enough assets
A lot of people assume that estate planning is just something that very wealthy people do. And it is true that wealthy individuals and business owners need to have an estate plan, but the full reality is that everyone needs to have some sort of plan in place. Part of the reason for this is that you can use an estate plan to do things like choosing a healthcare proxy or picking a guardian for your children. Don’t think that it’s just about transferring money or assets.
Making your plan
Is it time to get your estate plan in place? If it is, take the time to begin looking into all of the legal options at your disposal.