Most people understand the need for a will or an estate plan. They know what it does. They know how it helps their family. They know that they need one.
But the reality is that most people — more than half — don’t have one. Even that says nothing about more complex plans that use trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives and the like. The percentage of people with intricate plans designed to maximize their advantage is very small indeed. So, why does this happen? Why is there such a disconnect? Here are a few potential reasons:
They don’t know where to start
It’s one thing to admit that you need to write a will and quite another to know how to do it. Can you type it or does it have to be handwritten? Who needs to sign it when you’re done? What should it include? Where do you put it? These are just a few of many
They don’t think it’s urgent
Even those who do want to draft an estate plan often do not view it as something urgent that they should take care of quickly. They assume they’ll live into their 80s or 90s. They put it off and save it for another day. At 40 or 50, it’s easy to think that you can do it in a few years.
The trouble with this train of thought, of course, is that no one knows when they will pass away. Plus, life expectancy is lower than many people realize. It’s just 76.1 for an American man, and it’s been falling for years.
They’re too busy
Work. School. Children. Vacations. Family life. People are very busy in 2019, and it’s hard to carve out even a half an hour to watch a show on TV. They feel like they have no time for estate planning. They want to do it, but when?
They don’t think they need it
It’s not that they don’t think they’ll pass away, but that an estate plan focuses on assets. If they don’t have massive wealth, they feel like they do not have enough assets for an estate plan to make a difference. This is not true, but it keeps people from doing it.
Have you been putting off estate planning? Are you thinking about it differently now? If so, make sure you understand exactly what options you have.