Procrastination is a big problem when it comes to estate planning, and this is really rather hard to understand. Even when you are a young adult who is somewhat immature, when an older person starts to explain financial realities, you can’t help but take notice.
People find it easy to recognize the need to position their assets wisely throughout their lives, but the same people tend to place estate planning into another category. These are not necessarily people who are extremely selfish; many of them have spouses and children, and they would say that they have always put their families first.
The statistics that are compiled to shed light on the subject are compelling. Relatively recently, the estate planning preparedness of adults in certain age groups was measured by a legal website.
When they interviewed a representative sample of American adults who were between the ages of 55 and 64, they found that 51 percent of the people that they surveyed were going through life without wills or trusts. You would naturally assume that younger adults may not recognize the need to plan, but this is a surprising statistic when you think about the age group.
Things are worse for people in the next youngest age group. Among people between the ages of 45 and 54, the unpreparedness figure is 62 percent, and 67 percent of women who are in this age group do not have wills or trusts.
The Human Element
Why are we writing about wills and trusts when the point of this post is to emphasize the fact that there is more to estate planning and the creation of these documents? The documents are important, and of course you have to state your wishes in writing if you want your loved ones to be provided for appropriately.
However, one of the reasons why people tend to procrastinate is because the do in fact see estate planning as an exercise in document creation. It can seem like an administrative hassle. But in fact, you would be creating the documents for a very special reason.
When you plan your estate, you arrange for the distribution of everything that you have earned, and everything that has been passed along to you, to the people that you love the most. This is a very profound endeavor.
Consider the attention that you may give to holiday gift giving. You consider each person on your list, and you want to give the ideal gift to each individual that you love. There is no better feeling than the look in your son’s eyes when he sees that you have given him season tickets for the Kings or the 49ers. You knew that this particular gift would be especially meaningful to your son.
This is one example, but you can fill in the blanks as it applies to your own family. When you plan your estate, you could apply the same perspective, but the magnitude of the situation is exponentially more significant.
We are not saying that you should go out and use your liquidity to buy season tickets or any other specific gift. The point is to distribute your resources in a carefully measured manner, with the life situation and personal proclivities of each person on your inheritance list in mind.
However, when it comes to personal sentimental actions, you may have family heirlooms in your possession that been passed on to you from older family members who are now deceased. The stories that they tell are of priceless value to your family. If you carefully consider the best caretakers for each item, the emotional impact can represent a currency that is far more valuable than money.
There is also the matter of charitable giving. If you have the resources, you may be able to support institutions that have helped to make you the person that you are. There could also be causes that you are moved by. When you are planning your estate, you can think about the good that you can do for others, and the personal rewards are self-evident.
Schedule a Consultation
If you can see the value of estate planning in a different light after reading this blog post, we are here to help if you would like to discuss your estate planning objectives with the law firm that really cares. We have been helping families in the Sacramento area for many years, and we provide our clients with personalized attention.
You can drop us a line at 916-437-3500 if you would like to set up a consultation, and you can also get in touch through our contact page.
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