Estate planning doesn’t sound like an intimidating concept, right? Well for many Americans, it is. Unfortunately, hesitancy to start estate planning can lead to future issues and stressors. Let’s discuss some of the common reasons why people procrastinate or never begin estate planning.
Why People Don’t Estate Plan
Death is a Hard Concept To Think About
When you’re making an estate plan, you’re planning for life after you are gone. For many people, this is incredibly overwhelming to think about. Not only does this bring up existential questions about what happens after death, but it also leads to people thinking about their families continuing with life after they have passed away. For some, this can be too uncomfortable to think about and formally plan for.
There are big decisions to be made in an estate plan. This includes naming guardians for children, determining which loved ones get which assets, and other end-of-life decisions. Some people may fear that they’ll make the wrong decisions, which deters them from making any at all.
Others may be overwhelmed by the number of decisions they have to make and not know where to begin. This is where an estate planning attorney can help guide you through the process step by step.
There is a common misconception that estate plans are only for wealthy people with lots of money and assets to distribute after their passing. This is not true. People of all socioeconomic statuses should have an estate plan in place. Even if you do not have millions of dollars or numerous properties, you still have assets that should be accounted for.
Some people are also concerned about the upfront costs of estate planning. However, there are ways to make an estate plan on a budget. If this is one of your concerns, speak with an attorney about your options.
Estate planning is not top of mind for many young adults. However, interestingly enough, the number of 18-34-year-olds with a will increased over the last year. Young adults feel like they have their whole lives ahead of them, and while of course we hope that’s true, tragic accidents do occur. Most individuals in their 20s and 30s have enough assets to need an estate plan.
A good time to begin estate planning would be:
- When starting a new full-time job
- When you’ve purchased a home
- After getting married
- When you’re expecting your first child
An estate plan isn’t just about distributing assets, either. Within these documents, you can leave instructions for medical care in case you lose the ability to communicate, instructions for end-of-life services, and other important information.
The Consequences of Not Having an Estate Plan
If you still aren’t convinced that you should have an estate plan, here are some of the top issues that result when individuals pass away without a will.
- Loss of control: When you do not leave a will, you cannot control how your assets are distributed. Instead, state laws will determine which family member(s) receives your estate.
- Higher cost: If you don’t have an estate plan at the time of your passing, your estate will most likely have to go through probate. This is a time-consuming and expensive process. Setting up an estate plan in advance is the best way to mitigate expenses.
- Child custody: Within your estate plan, you can name guardians for your children. If you do not have an estate plan, this major decision is up to the courts.
- Family stress: The burden of handling your estate falls on your family. With an estate plan, this can be made much easier and help to avoid disputes and confusion.
Dallas Estate Planning Attorneys
As we enter a new year, now is the perfect time to begin estate planning. Our team at DebnamRust, P.C. can help you get started and answer any questions you have about the process. Please don’t hesitate to reach out online or give us a call at (214) 758-8681 to begin.