It’s no secret that people often procrastinate when it comes to things that they don’t particularly want to do, and this tendency is something that certainly enters into the realm of estate planning. Clearly without a “trigger event” as it were this is something that is going to be at the very bottom of everyone’s to-do list. Many of us simply don’t want to think about the prospect of passing away, let alone plan for it, and this is perfectly understandable. But that doesn’t make it right.
In addition to those who find it difficult to face their own mortality, there are others who procrastinate before enacting an estate plan because they feel as though there is plenty of time to do so. They reason that things are always changing and they will sit down and talk with an estate planning attorney as soon as everything “settles down.” These folks look at the average lifespan of 78.4 years and figure that this means that they really don’t have to worry about estate planning until they are well into their retirement years.
Because procrastination is so common many people who finally take the plunge and create an estate plan stash the documents in a lock box somewhere and consider the matter closed. But the fact is that estate planning is an ongoing process. You should enter into it with the full realization that it is very likely that you will be making changes as the years pass and your life situation changes. Three things always change: circumstances in your life; the law; and our recommendations based on changes that occur for the first two.
For example, your marital status may change; there could be significant alterations to your financial situation; the federal government regularly changes its mind about different laws; or family members may be added and unfortunately others may pass on. All these changes can have an impact on your estate plan. The point is, circumstances will always change. It’s extremely important to address changing circumstances proactively as the twists and turns of life play themselves out after you have created your initial plan.
If reading this makes you think that you, or any family members, friends, or colleagues would benefit from learning more about this in depth, then we invite you to join us at our upcoming FREE educational program on this very topic. Click HERE to learn more, and please pass this along to anyone you think may be interested.