It was recently Estate Planning Awareness Week. This concept was developed because estate planning is an often-overlooked element of financial wellness. And it’s one that is quite easy to put off thinking about.
Here at Edwards Group, it’s estate planning awareness week EVERY WEEK, because we see the pain and struggles families go through when effective estate planning has not been done.
Education is foundational to everything we do. The better educated you are, the better you can help develop a plan for your loved ones.
Here are six common reasons people give for not planning:
- I’m too young to do estate planning.
- All my property is titled in joint tenancy with my spouse, so I don’t need a will.
- Estate planning is only for the super-rich.
- Estate planning is too complicated and expensive.
- Doesn’t the government provide for that?
- We did a will after we had our first child.
Let’s dive into each of these a bit more…
1. “I’m too young to do estate planning.”
If you own a house, are married or divorced, and you have children, then you need to have a will (at the very least).
2. “All my property is titled in joint tenancy with my spouse, so I don’t need a will.”
Joint ownership, or joint tenancy, is a common method of owning assets. Particularly with husbands and wives. It can be a good tool, but it can also cause problems. Read about the pitfalls in our post, “Joint Ownership — Tempting But Risky“.
3. “Estate planning is only for the super-rich.”
The tools we use for planning, especially when it comes to elder law and Life Care Planning, are incredibly beneficial to middle class people who have worked hard all their lives. We encourage people to “Forget About the ‘Estate’ and Just Do Planning“.
4. “Estate planning is too complicated and expensive.”
We work really hard to make the process of planning as easy as possible for you. This starts with offering workshops where you can learn more about our process and even ask an attorney questions. At our Initial Meeting, everything is mapped out for you so you know what to expect and what it will cost. Read more about the cost of an estate plan here.
5. “Doesn’t the government provide for that?”
If you die without a will, the state of Illinois will decide what happens to your house, bank accounts, cars, etc. And I don’t know about you, but that’s the last thing I would want! The state of Illinois doesn’t know you or your family, so they might not make the same decisions you’d make. It really is best to plan ahead. I say it all the time, “Bad estate planning breaks up good families.”
6. “We did our wills right after we had our first child 25 years ago.”
Life changes. FAST. And out-of-date wills are a big threat to families. It’s great that you have a will, but is it still current? We like to look to the 3 L’s of Estate Planning — Life, Law, Learning — to assess whether a will needs to be updated.
There are a lot of reasons people put off planning. But the single greatest threat to an effective estate plan is procrastination. Here’s a blog post I wrote about that very issue a few years back. It involves water bottles nearly filling up our garage.