Debunking excuses for not having a Will or Trust
There are all kinds of reasons why people have not done any estate planning. This Blog post will look at some of the most popular reasons why people have not done any estate planning, and expose why those excuses are fallacies.
A recent SSRS survey as to why Americans don't have a Will or Trust yielded the following results:
Reasons Why U.S. Adults Don't Have a Will or Trust
- 1.9% - Refused to answer. Enough said.
- 3.3% - Don't know. Not much to dissect there either.
- 3.9% - Other. Most of these reasons were more obscure and were not part of the majority.
- 2.7% - It takes too long to set up. Finally, an excuse that is frequently given which is simply incorrect. There is a misconception that it will take weeks or months of tedious thought and complex work to have your Trust prepared. At Duvel Law, the process is very user friendly and very quick. Typically, clients meet with attorney Glen Duvel and together fill out a simple estate planning questionnaire. All client questions about planning are answered and any client concerns about planning specific to their family are resolved. This meeting typically takes between 30 minutes and an hour. At that point, drafts of all documents are made and sent to the client for review. Drafts are typically sent to clients within one week. If there are questions, changes, etc., they are addressed and fixed. At that point, arrangements are made to get the documents signed and notarized, either at our office or with a mobile notary elsewhere. The entire process takes between 1-2 weeks, which is not very daunting at all.
- 5.0% - Don't know how. This is just an excuse to ignore the issue. At Duvel Law, all aspects of Trust, Probate, powers of attorney, planning, etc., are explained in terms that are easy to understand. Clients are relieved and amazed at how much better they feel after just a fifteen-minute conversation about Trusts and planning. Once you contact our firm, we do all the work.
- 5.5% - Don't know who to leave my assets to. While that may, at its core, be a true statement, certainly you can find someone to leave it to other than the State of California? If you have no family, you can leave it to friends or charities. I'm sure with a little thought you could find someone to leave it to that is a better alternative than just leaving it to the State.
- 5.7% - Too expensive to set up. This is all relative. Most Trusts cost between $1500-$2500. Is that too much? Is it better to spend that much money on a Trust, or obligate your heirs to spend two years in Probate with total fees and taxes that could easily exceed $100,000?
- 21.6% - Don't have enough assets to leave to someone. That may actually be true, depending on your situation. But many people have the mistaken belief that Trusts are only for the wealthy. That is not true. If you own a home (whether paid off or not), if you have minor children, if you care about who receives your belongings after you pass away, then you should have a Trust. Additionally, when you create a Trust, it will continue every day from when it was created, so assets can be added to it over time. Frequently, financial circumstances change over time and a person with limited assets at the time the Trust was created may have significantly more assets years later. With the Trust in place, assets are just added to the Trust as the person grows.
- 50.4% - Haven't gotten around to it. This should be no surprise. People just flat out procrastinate. It is ironic that 78% of those polled emphatically stated that having some sort of estate plan in place was very important, yet only 4 out of 10 people have actually done any planning. Some people dread having to think and speak about their mortality and their family carrying on without them. Others simply think they can get to it later….yet later never comes.
It is time to stop procrastinating, because I think we all can agree that nobody knows when life is going to end. Being unprepared is much worse than dealing with planning now, regardless of whatever your aversion to it is. Click these links to see more information about the perils of Probate and the awful Default Plan the State of California has for you if you didn't prepare your own Will or Trust.