Procrastination- Why You Still Don’t Have an Estate Plan

“If it Wasn’t for the Last Minute, Nothing Would Ever Get Done.”

calvin-and-hobbes

We all procrastinate. It’s just part of being human. Teacher assigns a project with a due date four months away, you think, perfect! I’ve got plenty of time to brainstorm my idea, put the project together, and make any adjustments! Then three and half months later, OMG I HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED! You throw the project together in two weeks and pray for an a passing grade. Usually, with enough effort, intelligence, and luck, you come out fine. Does that help with you NOT procrastinating the future? Nope.

Everybody Procrastinates.

There are certain things in life that should never be procrastinated. Your estate plan is one of them.

Here are the top reason people of all ages, but especially Millennials, procrastinate their estate plans:

  1. The process of developing an estate plan is intimidating.
    • Yes, it can be if you think you have do it on your own. An experienced attorney can asses your assets, your goals for those assets, and easily identify the available estate planning options that best suit your needs.
  2. Too Expensive
    • Not all estate plans are expensive. The more complex your plan, the more expensive it will be. However, you can either pay now or let your estate pay more later after it goes through probate.
    • Simple plans that include a basic will, durable power of attorney, and healthcare power of attorney, cost usually less than $500 dollars for a single individual. Yes, I am aware most Millennials do not have $500.00 laying, but why not save up for it? You save up for spring break, beach trips, new clothes, and the latest gadget? Why not for your estate plan? Instead of going out and dropping $600 or more on the latest IPhone, why not actually invest that money in an estate plan?
    • Most attorneys will work with you on payments. You will never know until you go visit one.
  3. “I don’t have time”
    • There are 24 hours in a day. Somehow, we as humans manage to jam pack a lot things in those 24 hours. The whole “I don’t have time” spiel just does not cut it. If you can make time to go to the gym, go shopping, go to the movies,  to get your taxes done,etc., then you can make time to go spend an hour or so with an attorney and discuss your estate plan. DVR is a wonderful invention. Set your favorite show to record and make an appointment.
  4. “I don’t have a lot of assets or money”
    • You do not have to have a lot of money or things to have an estate plan. Powers of Attorneys are needed by everybody because they grant someone the authority to make decisions for you and tend to bills. Everybody has bills.
    • If you have a car, a house, kids, a bank account, a pet, a collection of some kind, etc. then you have assets and you need an estate plan. Period.
  5. Too Young (Millennial reason #1)
    • As I have stated over and over again, and will state probably a million more times. YOU ARE NEVER TO YOUNG TO HAVE AN ESTATE PLAN. Once you turn 18 years of age, your parents are not guaranteed to be able to make decisions for you.
    • Youth is not a good excuse. Especially those of us who are in are late 20s to early 30s. Buying our first homes, having kids, having bank accounts. All of those things will be at the mercy of the state if you fail to plan.
    • Youth does make you invincible.
  6. Invincibility – “I’ve got plenty of time”
    • The cold hard reality is, you might not have “plenty” of time. Death does not come for just the old and sick. Death is a heartless purveyor of souls who can swoop down and scoop up anyone, at anytime, regardless of age, health, or social status.
    • When you fail to plan and something happens, albeit death or incapacity, your family and loved ones are left to deal with the consequences.
  7. DIY Options are cheap and quick
    • Legalzoom and alike sites are quick and cheap. However, they provided really basic and general cookie cutter documents that will fall flatter than a pancake if challenged in court.
    • Also, these sites tell you THEY ARE NOT ATTORNEYS. Meaning, they cannot give you legal advice. If the are not giving you LEGAL advice on the LEGAL documents you are paying for, what good are they really?
  8. Lack of Understanding
    • The generalization for estate planning is “it’s something old wealthy people do”.
    • Estate planning is more than just a will. It is more than just simply delegating where your assets go. It’s about preparing for the unknown future.

In my short span as an estate planning attorney, I have seen far too many cases of people who waited to last minute to plan, something happened, and now their family is having to scramble to figure out what to do.

When the “last minute hits” you might not be able to make your plan. If you get in a car wreck, end up in a coma, and need someone to make medical decisions for you and you lack a power of attorney, how do you expect to grant anybody that authority? You can’t. It’s too late.

I think people wait because they believe they will “know” when they need to make a plan. Life does not give warnings. You are not going to an email or text saying “you are going to be hit by bus tomorrow, go to attorney today” or “you’re going to have a heart attacked Friday at Noon, is your estate plan ready?”

Only being PROACTIVE and not a PROCRASTINATOR will ensure you peace of mind in knowing whatever life brings, you are prepared and your family and loved ones have the tools to take care of you.

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