Estate planning is one of those tasks that often sits on the “I’ll handle it later” shelf. Though essential, many of us delay it. But have you ever stopped to wonder why such a crucial task is frequently postponed? Let’s delve into the psychology and reasons behind this estate planning procrastination.
The Discomfort of Facing Mortality
At the core of estate planning is an acknowledgment of our own mortality. It’s a topic many people find uncomfortable and would rather avoid. For some, even thinking about the end of life can evoke fear or sadness. By delaying estate planning, they can, for a time, push these emotions away and maintain a semblance of invulnerability.
Overwhelm By Complexity
Estate planning isn’t just about writing a will. It can encompass various aspects, including trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, and more. The sheer volume of decisions to be made can be daunting. For someone unfamiliar with the legal jargon and intricacies, it can feel like an insurmountable mountain, leading to delay.
Perception of Having “Ample Time”
Many believe that estate planning is for the elderly or those facing health issues. The young and healthy often feel they have decades ahead and can always address it “later.” This misplaced confidence in the unpredictability of the future leads many to keep pushing estate planning further down their to-do list.
Indecision and Family Dynamics
Family can be complicated. Deciding how to distribute assets or designate guardians for children in a blended family or complex family structure can be stressful. Some might fear causing disputes or misunderstandings. So, instead of making a choice, they delay the entire process.
The Illusion of Simplicity
There are individuals who mistakenly believe that if they don’t own significant assets, there’s no need for formal estate planning. “It’s straightforward,” they think, assuming that their possessions will automatically pass to their spouse or children. This oversimplification often leads to unintentional neglect of the process.
For some, the perceived cost of estate planning serves as a barrier. They might believe that hiring a professional to guide them through the process would be too expensive. This financial hesitancy often results in estate planning procrastination.
Lack of Urgency
Unlike tasks with a clear deadline, estate planning doesn’t come with an expiration date. Most people prioritize immediate concerns over future-oriented tasks. Since the repercussions of not having an estate plan aren’t immediately felt, it’s easy to keep sidelining it.
Overconfidence in DIY Solutions
The digital age has ushered in a plethora of online tools and templates. Some people feel that they can manage estate planning on their own when they find the time. However, the act of even starting a DIY solution can feel daunting, leading to further delays.
Beyond the acknowledgment of mortality, estate planning can bring up other intense emotions. It might be guilt over unequal distribution, anxiety over leaving loved ones behind, or the weight of responsibility. Emotional readiness plays a significant role, and many wait for a time when they feel better equipped mentally and emotionally.
Waiting for the “Right Time”
There are those who believe there’s an ideal time for estate planning. They might be waiting for the birth of a child, a marriage, a particular age, or a financial milestone. This waiting for the “perfect moment” can lead to open-ended delays.
Breaking the Procrastination Spell
But what if we told you that with the help of an estate planning lawyer, the process is far simpler than you might think? Let’s explore the ease of ending procrastination and securing your legacy.
Guidance Through Complex Jargon
Legal terminology can seem like a foreign language to many. But when you work with a professional, they’ll translate these complexities into plain English. Your lawyer will explain terms like “probate,” “living will,” or “irrevocable trust” in a way that’s easy to understand, ensuring you’re well-informed at every step.
Every individual’s situation is unique. Maybe you have children from a previous marriage, own property in multiple states, or have specific charitable intentions. An estate planning lawyer considers all these nuances, providing tailored advice to match your unique circumstances.
Quick and Efficient Process
While estate planning might seem like a huge task, lawyers in this field have a structured process in place. They know the right questions to ask and can guide you through decisions methodically. With their assistance, what might have taken you months of uncertainty can be wrapped up efficiently.
Avoid Costly Mistakes
DIY solutions or generic online templates might seem tempting, but they often lead to costly oversights. An estate planning lawyer ensures every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed. Their expertise helps you avoid mistakes that could inadvertently leave loved ones in a bind.
Addressing All Aspects
Estate planning isn’t just about assets. It encompasses your wishes regarding medical care, guardianship decisions for minor children, and more. An experienced lawyer ensures nothing is overlooked, providing a comprehensive plan that addresses all facets of your life.
Navigating Emotional Roadblocks
Decisions surrounding estate planning can be emotionally charged. A lawyer serves as a neutral third party, helping mediate any family discussions and ensuring decisions are made with clarity and foresight rather than emotion.
Laws change. What’s applicable now might be different five or ten years down the line. When you engage with an estate planning lawyer, they’ll keep you informed about any legal changes that might affect your plans, ensuring your documents remain compliant and up-to-date.
Once your estate planning documents are prepared, they need safekeeping. Lawyers often offer secure storage solutions, ensuring your documents are safe and can be easily accessed when needed.
Peace of Mind
Perhaps the most significant benefit of hiring an estate planning lawyer is the peace of mind it brings. Knowing that a professional has vetted every detail of your plan allows you to rest easy, confident in the knowledge that your wishes will be honored, and your loved ones taken care of going forward.
A Push to Start
Simply making the decision to consult with a lawyer can be the nudge you need to get started. Once the appointment is on your calendar, you’ve made a commitment, turning your “someday” into a tangible date.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
We can help if you are ready to end the estate planning procrastination. You can schedule a consultation at our Oakdale, MN estate planning office if you call us at 651-478-8999, and there is a contact form on this site you can fill out if you would rather send us a message.