Confronting Fears About Estate Planning
Do you have a will or estate plan? If not, why not? I know many people that are afraid of even thinking about the issues of what happens after they die. But it’s so important that you take care of your family in this way and that you confront your fears about planning for your estate. Here are some common objections:
I am too young to need a will. I have a long time to make these decisions.
Hopefully, that’s true. But what if it isn’t? Young people die all the time, sadly. If you are under 30 and have no children and no significant property, you probably don’t need a will yet. But if you have a child, then you are putting that child at serious risk by not providing for a guardian in the event of your death.
I don’t have enough property to make it worthwhile.
Again, if you have a child, you need to make a will to provide for their guardianship. Also, if you expect that you will be receiving money or property in the future through an inheritance, you need to provide for the disposition of that property.
I don’t like to think about that.
Maybe not, but if you don’t then your loved ones will have to do it at a time when they most need to grieve freely, without the burden of trying to figure out what you would have wanted and arguing amongst themselves about how to dispose of your property. For their sake, face your fears and spend the couple of hours with a good attorney that it would take to make their lives so much easier when you are gone.
My spouse will take care of it.
There are a number of things that could go wrong in this plan. Your spouse could die at the same time as you do. Your spouse might not know how to handle it, or might be left with a huge burden and responsibility at a time when they are grieving. Don’t leave it all up to them.
I am afraid that if I really dispose of my property the way I want, it will make my family angry.
You don’t have to tell them what your will says in advance. Someone needs to know that there is a will and where to find it, but if you want to leave all your money to one cousin, or to a charitable organization, that is confidential between you and your attorney.
It’s going to cost a fortune to get a will done.
Probably not. Shop around until you find an attorney that will do your will for a price you can live with. In many cases, you will be spending less than you spent last year on holiday gifts for one or two of your children.
Isn’t the process going to be really hard?
Every attorney has their own way of handling things, but for an example I can tell you that in my practice I have clients fill out a worksheet to the best of their ability that contains information about their property and holdings. Then we talk together about how they want the property distributed. I write the will, and then they come in to sign it. Almost all of the discussion can be done over the phone if they prefer, right up until the signing. It’s not difficult, and it doesn’t require huge amounts of time for the client.
You need a will unless you have no children, no significant property now or in the future or no loved ones that you are concerned about.
Think of it like an escape plan that you see hanging in schools or offices…what do you do in case of fire? Follow the arrow on the map out the door. Give your family a way out of the confusion and heartache of settling your affairs. Confront your fears.
For a free consultation about your legal matter, call us at (856) 227-7888, or contact us at [email protected]. We have locations in Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester counties, and are happy to discuss your legal options.
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The above is not specific legal advice nor does it create a lawyer-client relationship. Do not rely upon it without consulting an attorney to see how the information presented fits your unique circumstances.