The estate planning process is sometimes initiated by one spouse, while often being met with hesitation by the other. The reasons are totally understandable, since thinking about death or incapacity can bring many uncomfortable feelings. There is also a sense of comfort in the fact that “ignorance is bliss,” as many people don’t want to confront their current life situation.
Keep this in mind, though: while it’s never too early to plan, it can oftentimes be too late. Sticking our heads in the sand won’t lessen the need to create an estate plan. That’s why we’re giving you answers to the three most common excuses for avoiding estate planning, which will help you convince your spouse that it might be time to speak with an estate planning lawyer:
“Why do I need an estate plan, especially now?”
Most people think that they don’t have to create an estate plan until they reach retirement age. This, of course, is a huge mistake since tragedy can strike at any time. Some people also mistakenly believe that an estate plan is only needed if they have a great deal of money. They should know that estate planning is much more than dividing your assets, as it includes the ability for others to make important medical or financial decisions for you or your spouse in the event of disability or incapacity.
“You’ll inherit everything anyway.”
It’s true, a spouse will most likely inherit the majority of the estate. But what if something happens to both spouses? And what about your children? If you don’t have an estate plan, you won’t have a legal say in who raises your kids if both spouses pass away. Children from a previous marriage may also end up disinherited when the new spouse inherits the majority of the estate. Your spouse could also end up with estate taxes, court fees, and legal burdens after you pass.
And in many instances, you may not want to leave everything outright to your surviving spouse. For example, if they were to get remarried, get sued, or go into a nursing home, the assets could go to someone you did not intend or even to the state. Instead, you may want to consider leaving some or all of the assets in a trust for the benefit of your spouse to better protect them.
“We already have an estate plan.”
This excuse could definitely throw you a curveball since it’s technically true. If you die without an estate plan, your estate goes through the legal process that is set forth in your state’s laws. So why would you spend the money to create an estate plan if the state already gives you one? It’s simple: the State does not take any of your wishes into consideration. Not only that, but the process of settling one’s estate through the probate courts is long, expensive, and extremely stressful for your loved ones.
If you want to get started on your estate plan, or if you want to have your existing estate plan reviewed to ensure it still fits your current situation, please contact our law firm at 888-719-5589 to set up a consultation with one of our estate planning lawyers.
If you would like to learn more about how you can make it as easy and inexpensive as possible for your family if anything were to happen to you, click here for our free workshop.