Your Dedicated & Trusted Legal Team
3 Generations & 100+ Years of Combined Legal Experience
Estate planning involves preparing for one’s future by creating legal documents that instruct their family and heirs on how to handle their affairs. It’s challenging to think about so many things in the present, let alone plan for what happens after death. Unfortunately, the difficulty many people feel in contemplating their own demise often leads to unnecessary delays in creating an estate plan.
This article will review some of the common reasons that people delay making an estate plan, and provide some context for why these reasons may not be valid excuses for putting off this very important matter. If you’re unsure whether the following circumstances apply to you, or you would like to discuss whether or not it makes sense to get started on your estate plan, call Rosenblum Law for a free attorney consultation to discuss your situation.
Reasons Why You Might Feel Hesitant
1: You don’t have enough assets
Many people may think that they don’t need to create an estate plan unless they are very wealthy or own multiple properties and cars. These same people often believe that creating an estate plan involves a great deal of work, and so they may think their funds aren’t significant enough to justify the effort.
But there are other reasons to create an estate plan other than to distribute finances. Those with custodial responsibilities will want to designate someone else to take custody, to ensure that minors (or even elderly parents) are taken care of properly. In the case of an accident that leaves one incapacitated, the advance directive portion of the estate plan will provide medical instructions that adhere to your wishes. Your loved ones won’t be left to guess what you would have wanted.
Ultimately, creating an estate plan saves one’s family from lots of unnecessary stress and work. Admittedly, going through financial, custodial, and other responsibilities is hard and emotional, but without instructions, the surviving family may experience many difficulties while grieving at the same time. It’s far better to have an estate plan in place that will guide one’s family through this difficult time rather than leaving the family to figure everything out without any instruction.
2: It’s too expensive
Estate plans can be created in a variety of ways, including using online templates and consulting with an attorney. Many people believe that the cost of an attorney isn’t worth it because of the nature of their estate, whether it be too small or not very complicated. However, this cost includes ensuring that one’s estate is thoroughly and efficiently reviewed to create a plan that covers all of the client’s needs. Addressing each aspect of the estate (financial, medical, custodial) with an attorney ensures that a professional is addressing all of one’s needs and nothing is being left out or forgotten.
When using an online template, it’s very easy to leave out important items or not recognize potential issues that could arise due to situations that a non-lawyer may not be able to anticipate. At Rosenblum Law, we use innovative technology and affordable flat-fee estate plan packages to provide our clients with all of the benefits of using an attorney without the prohibitive cost.
3: You don’t want to think about it
Creating an estate plan involves thinking about what needs to happen if a person falls ill or passes away. It’s understandable why people avoid thinking about estate planning. The process can seem daunting and time-consuming, but that’s where an attorney can help. They are experts in their field and can help you navigate the process.
Rosenblum Law makes the estate planning process easy. Using an interactive online questionnaire, we will gather the client’s basic personal information, an understanding of family dynamics, financial assets and liabilities, and healthcare wishes for future treatment.
Once the questionnaire is completed, one of our attorneys will review your answers to offer the best approach and coverage needed for a comprehensive estate plan. In some instances, we may need to probe further based on each client’s unique circumstances. We might need to address subjects like:
- “How will your children receive your assets?”
- “Who will be your executor?”
- “What happens to your pet if you pass away before it?”
- “How would you like to assign your asset distribution to your children?” (if you have children from a previous marriage)
There are so many things to consider when creating an estate plan that many people just give up and decide not to move forward. At Rosenblum Law, our attorneys will take the thought out of this process. After reviewing the completed questionnaire, we sit down with our clients to determine the best estate plan for their needs. Our attorneys ask the right questions and provide vital information so that the best decisions are made for each estate plan.
4: It’s not that important
There’s a misconception that an estate plan isn’t necessary for some people. Certain individuals might accumulate wealth through assets that already have beneficiaries determined, such as insurance plans, joint bank accounts or properties, or assets held in the name of trusts. While these non-probate assets might not need specific beneficiary instructions, that doesn’t mean that a person doesn’t need an estate plan.
Estate plans are very important to a person’s health, specifically for providing an advance directive that outlines medical instructions and treatments if they aren’t in a position to communicate their wishes to medical providers. For example, who makes medical decisions on one’s behalf if they’re unconscious after an accident?
Estate plans also provide a durable power of attorney, which allows someone to take action on the behalf of the principal, the person who assigned them as such. The power of attorney may be implemented immediately or only when the principal is incapacitated. Similar to the advance directive, the durable power of attorney is necessary when someone cannot communicate and execute their wishes, specifically regarding finances. For example, if you fall seriously ill and are unresponsive, you will need someone to handle any financial tasks, such as paying monthly bills or moving money around in bank accounts.
Whether you are wealthy now or just getting started in growing your assets, an estate plan is about more than just money, it’s a vital piece of planning for your future care.
5: You’re too young
It’s natural to assume that estate plans are only for those nearing the end of their lives and want to start thinking about their assets and potential health emergencies. This is a common misconception, and it can be a dangerous one for those who choose not to prepare for their future because they believe they are too young to do so.
Anyone with children or other custodial responsibilities will want these things addressed in case of their death so their loved ones are properly cared for. Similarly, accidents and medical emergencies involving incapacitation, such as a coma, can occur at any age. Without medical instructions in an advance directive, loved ones may be faced with difficult decisions and might even face years-long court battles. In fact, two of the most notable cases involving families fighting over their incapacitated family members revolved around the tragic demise of two young women. In these instances, the Quinlan and Schiavo families had stressful legal complications that could’ve been avoided with estate plans.
6: You only have one person to inherit your estate
Deciding who will receive one’s estate is an important point, but it is not the only consideration regarding beneficiaries. There are different factors involved in the will itself aside from assigning benefactors, such as assigning an executor who will ensure that the will is followed.
In addition, how will the beneficiary receive the assets, in an annual or monthly amount? Will disbursements begin right away? What if the beneficiary is a minor? Some states require guardians to take ownership of a minor’s assets until they turn 18. You might even want to consider further restrictions to obtain assets, such as requiring the beneficiary to reach a certain age (i.e. 21) to access the funds. Requirements for minors and young adults help prevent them from making reckless financial decisions if they have access to a large sum of money at too young an age.
There is also the possibility of the sole beneficiary passing away before the person who wrote the will. This may create even more issues concerning where these assets can go, involving legal terms like “per capita” or “per stirpes.”
Without a clear estate plan, these issues may be addressed in court. This opens up the possibility of legal battles among loved ones if they disagree with how the assets should be distributed.
How Can Rosenblum Law Help?
Rosenblum Law uses technology combined with years of experience to make estate planning an easy and efficient process. So, while it’s not pleasant to imagine a time where you might be incapacitated or not here at all, planning for these situations ahead of time is much more favorable than leaving your family to deal with it while also suffering from the stress of having a deceased or ailing family member.
At Rosenblum Law, we’ll work with you to create a plan that covers all of your bases and leaves your family prepared to manage your affairs in the way you wish. Call us at 888-815-3649 for an initial, free consultation.
Rosenblum Law is committed to delivering informative content of the highest quality. All content is subject to our rigorous editorial standards for relevance, accuracy, sourcing, and objectivity. Everything is fact-checked by an editor and reviewed for legal soundness by one of our practicing attorneys prior to being published.
How to Cite Rosenblum Law’s Article
Scott Glatstian (Jul 13, 2022). Passing Assets to Your Heirs: Per Stirpes vs. Per Capita. Rosenblum Law Firm, https://rosenblumlaw.com/passing-assets-to-your-heirs/
Scott Glatstian "Passing Assets to Your Heirs: Per Stirpes vs. Per Capita". Rosenblum Law Firm, Jul 13, 2022. https://rosenblumlaw.com/passing-assets-to-your-heirs/