Many of the participants in a recent survey said they do not have a specific plan in place to manage their assets after they die. Among the group, women were more likely than men to have not executed a plan, although 59% of men surveyed have also avoided the process. Have you been hesitant when it comes to estate planning? If so, why?
There tends to be a lot of misguided information circulating regarding the estate planning process. It’s helpful to do your own research so that you can make informed decisions. There were several reasons cited among the participants of the recent survey as to why they had not executed an estate plan. Perhaps your reasons are similar.
Many people believe estate planning is only for the wealthy
One of the reasons why survey respondents had not executed estate plans was a misguided belief that estate planning is only meant for people who are wealthy. This is a common misconception; however, there are numerous legal documents available that are beneficial to estate owners regardless of net worth.
For example, if you are the parent of young children, you can use the estate planning process to designate legal guardians for them, in case you die or become incapacitated. You might also wish to incorporate an advance directive into your plan, which may include instructions regarding end-of-life care, such as whether you want resuscitation from cardiac arrest or placed on a ventilator if you cannot breathe on your own. You can also grant power of attorney to someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf.
If you don’t have kids, do you need an estate plan?
Another reason many people hesitate to craft an estate plan is thinking they don’t need one because they do not have children. As mentioned in the previous section, you may want to have a written document stating your wishes for end-of-life care. You might also want certain assets to go to a favorite charity of yours after you die, in which case it would be beneficial to sign a last will and testament that specifies your intentions.
You may want to have a financial power of attorney in place so that a person of your choosing can manage your finances and act as your financial representative if you become incapacitated (after having a stroke, for instance, or suffering from dementia, etc.) and unable to speak and act on your own behalf.
Many people avoid estate planning because they don’t know where to start
If you do not have an estate plan because you simply have no clue how to initiate one, you are not alone; this is a common reason why many people do not have plans in place. The good news is that there are resources available to provide guidance and support. Speaking with someone who is well-versed in estate administration and probate issues takes the mystery out of the process.
With this type of assistance, you can learn all you need to know about the legal documents that are available, as well as which ones best fit your needs and goals. Acting alongside experienced guidance helps simplify the estate planning process and enables you to create a plan that aligns with your specific circumstances.
Some folks just haven’t gotten around to the planning stages yet
Another issue that keeps people from executing an estate plan is procrastination. They think they have all the time in the world and keep putting it off. The fact is that no one knows how much time they have left in life, and unexpected situations may occur, such as an accident or health problem, that might make it impossible to initiate the estate planning process. This is why sooner is typically better when it comes to planning your estate.