Creating an estate plan is an important process every single person needs to undertake in his or her lifetime to ensure their final wishes are carried out and estate assets are distributed properly upon death. Despite this importance, many ordinary people still make excuses with one reason or another why they do not need an estate plan, last will and testament, or set up a health care directive.
One of the most common excuses people make for not having an estate plan is thinking that their estate is simply too small or they do not have assets that warrant that level of planning. Even if your estate is modest, you still need to create a living will or health care directive to help loved ones make health and financial decisions on your behalf in the instance you may be left incapacitated or otherwise unable to act for yourself.
Another common excuse is believing that having joint ownership of bank accounts with children is a proper mechanism to transfer wealth to upon passing away. The reality is that unless you are only leaving behind a single child, it is nearly impossible to separate accounts for more than one child equal. This can become even more difficult if you find yourself suddenly incapacitated or unable to manage these accounts yourself.
Sometimes, people may be under misconceptions that estate planning costs too much money due to legal expenses but the truth is that there are many free or low-cost software tools out there to help people articulate and implement their estate planning goals. Many estate planning attorneys offer free initial consultations to help potential clients understand what their costs may be. Furthermore, the filing fees at probate courts are minimal and necessary to keep these civil programs running.
Finally, many people simply insist that although they have not gotten around to it, they will eventually start their estate planning. It never pays to procrastinate, especially with something as import as your own estate and giving loved ones the power to make serious decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so.
Considering the impact of not having an estate plan on our loved ones should we pass away before doing so can serve as more than enough motivation to take the important first steps of implementing an effective and meaningful plan. The feeling of satisfaction that comes with fulfilling these goals will also give peace of mind and confidence moving forward.