Various surveys indicate that more than 40 percent of Americans over age 55 ― and half of Americans with children ― don’t have a will. Following are five common reasons people give for their delays, and why they are poor excuses for not organizing an estate:
- I’m not wealthy enough to need a will.
An estate plan isn’t just about distributing your money ― it’s making sure that what you have is used wisely; designating guardians for your children; deciding who will make health and financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated; and confirming your end-of-life wishes.
- I’m too young to need a will.
No one is too young to need a will, a durable power of attorney, or an advance medical directive. One case involving the failure to have an advance medical directive concerned a 25-year-old woman left in a vegetative state following a car accident. Nearly eight years later and following a court battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, she was finally removed from life support.
- I’m not sure to whom I should leave my money.
Most people leave their assets to their spouse or partner and children. Single individuals without children usually leave assets to parents and siblings. Close friends and charities are other possibilities. Gifts can be made of specific items, specific amounts of money, a percentage of your estate, or the remainder (everything that is left). An experienced estate planning attorney can help you make the best decision.
- I may change my mind later.
Many people change their minds as their lives change. A new marriage or a divorce, the birth of a child, the death of a parent, a change in the law ― everyone needs to revisit their estate planning documents periodically, and unless you are a multimillionaire trying to minimize or avoid federal estate tax through an irrevocable trust, all your estate planning documents can be changed while you are alive and well.
- I can’t stand the thought of preparing for my death.
No one likes to think about dying, but it’s inevitable. The only question is when. If you think of an estate plan as getting organized, you’ll find that the process removes a great deal of stress and anxiety ― for you and for the ones you love.
It’s time for you to live your life to the fullest, with the peace of mind knowing that your estate is in order. Contact Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC for understanding and compassionate assistance preparing your will and other estate planning documents.