Estate planning is a must, so why do people procrastinate?

by | Jan 20, 2019 | Estate Planning |

Eventually, you’ll need an estate plan. It’s a must. You know it. Your heirs know it. At some point, your assets — no matter how much you have — need to get passed on to the next generation. It’s something everyone has to do.

However, many people act like they don’t need to do it. They procrastinate. They put it aside for later. They say they’ll do it next year. They try to ignore the process.

Why do we do this? Laying it out like that, it looks like a clear mistake. Why do so many people fall into the trap of thinking they can wait?

It stresses them out

One reason is that estate planning stresses people out. They don’t enjoy it. It feels overwhelming. They get nervous about it.

To avoid feeling stressed, they just put it off. They’re seeking immediate gratification. They can let estate planning be a problem for another day or another year. This can temporarily relieve the stress that they feel.

However, studies have found that stress increases when people procrastinate. On the whole, you’re setting yourself up to feel worse in the long run. It’s hard to see that when you decide to enjoy yourself instead of working on a complex legal process, but it all feeds into itself.

They underestimate accidents

If you ask someone how long they think that they’ll live, they’ll probably guess something right around the current life expectancy. They assume they’ll live a full, happy life, passing their assets on only when they pass away of natural causes.

But thinking this way underestimates how many people lose their lives in accidents or other unexpected ways. The life expectancy would be far higher if everyone lived full lives, but the reality is that people pass away from diseases, car accidents, workplace accidents and many other causes every single day.

Health doesn’t matter. Diet doesn’t matter. Nothing guarantees that you have 50 years to get this done.

They don’t know where to start

Estate planning, as noted above, may feel overwhelming. You know you need a plan, but you’ve never done this before. You have no idea where to start or what that plan needs to include. You then procrastinate because you’re putting it off for some theoretical day in the future when you know exactly what to do.

Of course, that day is not coming if you don’t work toward it. There’s no age at which you suddenly know how to craft an estate plan.

That’s why it’s so important to look into all of your legal options and the steps you need to take. You don’t have to do this alone, so that is no reason to put it off.


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