Excuses, Excuses - Why Don't You Have An Estate Plan?

Summer is finally here!  Now is the time to enjoy the warmth and sunshine, mornings on the golf course, afternoons at the pool, evenings...pondering your estate plan?  The thought of what will happen upon your death or incapacity is likely not top of mind these days.  While it can be difficult to think about these things, planning ahead is important nonetheless.  If you are like many Americans, you may be putting off setting up an estate plan.  Well, what are you waiting for?  Here are five of the top reasons people avoid setting up an estate plan:

1. You don't plan to die soon.  You're a safe driver, you don't take risks, you work out and eat well - you plan to be around for a long time.  Besides, you're too young to die, right?  It's never too early to start planning for the future.  The benefit of having an estate plan in place is that you will save your family and loved ones the time, money, and headaches that result from unclear or non-existent directions as to how to handle your health care and finances, the distribution of your assets, and the care of your minor children if an unexpected event occurs.  While death is not the most enjoyable event to consider, it is inevitable and it pays to be prepared.

2. You don't have time.  In the modern world, we are all stretched for time.  Work, family, and other social and charitable obligations can easily consume all of your time and energy.  In reality, setting up an estate plan can be a quick and painless process.  After making a handful of important decisions, your attorney will take it from there.  In just a few hours, you can save your family and loved ones months or even years of turmoil.

3. You think it's too expensive.  While "do it yourself" estate planning software is available, it pays to have a qualified attorney handle creating a proper, customized estate plan that complies with your state's laws.  However, this process does not have to break the bank.  While some law firms may charge high rates or hourly fees, a straightforward, affordable plan is possible.

4. You think it's unnecessary.  Maybe you think things will just take care of themselves after you become incapacitated or pass away, or maybe you feel that you don't have enough assets to necessitate an estate plan.  However, an estate plan is important for appointing individuals to take care of your medical and financial decisions in the event that you become incapacitated.  Additionally, regardless of your net worth, you should not count on spending all of your assets before you die.  An estate plan will help your family and loved ones manage your affairs according to your wishes.

5. You find the process too complicated and intimidating.  A qualified attorney can smoothly guide you through the estate planning process.  While some decisions such as appointing an executor (or personal representative) or appointing guardians for your minor children can be difficult to make, your attorney can provide advice and recommendations suitable to your personal situation.