Wow…this will hit home for some of you. Hold on…seriously. No one thinks of this as an impediment to creating an effective estate plan. This is going to take Part I and Part II.
Compulsive hoarding is a significant psychological disorder that affects as many as one in 20 Americans. Most of the people affected by compulsive hoarding show signs of the disorder while they are younger, but because the disorder tends to worsen with age, it is most commonly seen in people who are 50 or older. The compulsion or need to acquire and hold onto material possessions is not only potentially harmful to a person and his or her loved ones, but is also a problem that can prevent someone from creating an effective estate plan. Today we’re going to take a look at compulsive hoarding, what it is, and how it can be a barrier to creating an estate plan.
Someone with a compulsive hoarding problem feels an emotional need to not only acquire new property, but to hold on to that property regardless of what value or utility it has. People with a compulsive hoarding problem will often have homes that are extremely cluttered, piled high with seemingly mundane items such as old newspapers, and experience severe bouts of anxiety whenever they contemplate discarding or disposing of the things they have acquired.
A compulsive order has an emotional relationship to the things he or she acquires that goes beyond sentimental value. Compulsive hoarders can feel strongly about even the most common household items, and can attach feelings of safety, security, and even affection to those tangible things. When someone with a compulsive hoarding disorder tries to dispose of property, or even thinks about it, they can become extremely distressed, and even react aggressively.
Compulsive Hoarding and Estate Planning
There are several reasons why compulsive hoarding issues complicate estate planning. First, someone with a compulsive hoarding disorder can be reluctant to begin the estate planning process because even the idea of distributing property after he or she dies can be stressful. Second, people with compulsive hoarding disorders often feel ashamed or embarrassed, and are reluctant to share their living situations with anyone else. Third, hoarders can lose track of important documents, possessions, and other tangible items that they need in order to create and maintain effective estate plans.
Finally, people who have relatives or loved ones who are affected by compulsive hoarding disorders can often find it very difficult to persuade their loved ones to seek psychological help, or begin the estate planning process. When those loved ones have to deal with the estates left behind by people with a hoarding disorder who have died, the process can be much more difficult because of the lack of planning.
Contact an Oklahoma Estate Planning Attorney
For additional information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about relative or loved one who may be affected by a hoarding disorder, contact an experienced Oklahoma City estate planning attorney at Parman & Easterday by calling 405-843-6100 to schedule your appointment today.