Philadelphia PA Estate Planning Blog

Monday, December 30, 2013

Common Excuses for Estate Planning Procrastination

Procrastination and estate planning is common, but nevertheless unfortunate. Without a proper estate plan, you risk family conflict, more burdens on your family at a delicate time, and ultimately less money for your loved ones. I have heard many excuses for failure to plan during my years of practice, and described a few of my ‘favorites’ below.

Excuse 1: My Estate Is Too Small

A common excuse I hear often from folks is that they do not have enough money to worry about planning their estate. However, this is an awful misconception about estate planning. Whether it be four figures or seven figures, the conflicts are the same. Sometimes, a $1,000 will create more conflict than $1 million! The amount does not matter. Without a solid plan, the possibility of conflict grows exponentially. In addition, regardless of your net worth, you need a plan for incapacity and long-term care. Everyone needs an estate plan.

Excuse 2: Indecision

If you are having trouble deciding whom your Executor and/or beneficiaries will be, you are in good company. However, I often see people continuously delay planning because they are ‘stuck’ on one decision. My best advice is, make the best decision you can make in the moment. You can modify your estate plan in the future. Also, having a plan on paper will give you a better perspective, and give you time to consider future changes. Life is not static, and just as we are continually faced with new circumstances, your estate plan must reflect those changes.

Excuse 3: General Delay / Too Many Other Things To Do

Our 24/7 society where we are all juggling too many things makes it challenging to set aside time for estate planning. Unfortunately, I have seen too often people who have failed to plan, only to be suddenly faced with unfortunate circumstances. None of us have a crystal ball, and we have to be ready for the curveballs. Now is the moment to invest some time to begin your estate plan or review an existing plan.

Excuse 4: It Costs Too Much

A well-crafted estate plan is an investment for you and your loved ones. It can save on unnecessary government fees and taxes, as well as additional attorney fees later on. An estate plan may expose planning opportunities for your family to preserve assets in case of entrance into a nursing home, among other opportunities. Seek a qualified attorney that you feel confident will recommend a pragmatic plan for you. Avoid searching for the cheapest solution (i.e., a ‘simple will’). A will is just the tip of the iceberg. I analogize an estate plan to a car. A will is a single part of a plan, like a steering wheel. A car will not work with a steering wheel alone. Seek common sense solutions that fit your needs; that may include a trust or other tools. A good attorney will explain why he or she is recommending those items and explain the costs involved.

Conclusion: Make a resolution to start your estate plan in 2014, or if you have an estate plan, take some time to review it this year. Try to avoid these common excuses (and many others) that deter proper planning.

For a review of your current plan or if you are without a plan, please call my office at (215) 706-0200 to schedule your consultation today. 

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The Law Offices of Jeremy A. Wechsler assist clients with Estate Planning matters in Willow Grove, PA as well as Abington, Hatboro, Dresher, Horsham, Bryn Athyn, Huntingdon Valley, Fort Washington, Jenkintown, Glenside, Oreland, Warminister, Wyncote, Ambler, Elkins Park, Flourtown, Philadelphia, Warrington, Cheltenham, Gwynedd Valley, Jamison, Feasterville Trevose, Richboro, North Wales, Blue Bell, Lafayette Hill, King of Prussia, Collegeville, Oaks, Phoenixville, Oxford Valley, Langhorne, Penndel, Bristol, Fairless Hills, Bensalem, Plymouth Meeting, Furlong, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Montgomery County.

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