It is easy to stand on a soapbox and solemnly express why everyone should prioritize estate planning and not put it on the back burner, but there are some valid reasons why people tend to do so. When you are looking at your “to do” list, dying is way at the bottom, and becoming incapacitated before passing on is probably second to last.
So to be fair, it is easy to understand why many people would put off estate planning. For one thing the plans involve some unpleasant eventualities that you would rather not think about, and for another the perception is that they won’t be put to use until sometime in the distant future.
However, just because you can understand the logic of the procrastinators doesn’t mean that they aren’t making a mistake. For one thing you can simply consider the reward versus expense element. You are not going to have to spend an inordinate amount of time or an extraordinary amount of money engaging the services of an estate planning attorney, but the rewards are significant so the value is there.
When you have a discussion with your estate planner you may become aware of some strategies that can be very beneficial long before your twilight years. Situating your assets correctly can provide you with many advantages, like being able to derive ongoing income from a charitable remainder trust that is funded with securities that had appreciated considerably free of capital gains tax.
Some people procrastinate about creating an estate plan in the first place, but there are others who have a plan that is not appropriate given their current situation. Once again, the reasons why you may not run to your estate planning lawyer every time something relevant takes place in your life is understandable. But that doesn’t make it right. Your estate plan is intertwined with your overall financial plan and it is important to take a holistic approach and react as circumstances change, take action and make estate plan adjustments when they become prudent.
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