It’s common for people to put off estate planning. When you hear, for instance, that most people don’t have an estate plan, you may be confused. Don’t they know how valuable it is? Do they think they don’t need one?
While there are certainly people in those camps, most of these people still recognize that having a plan is important and they know that they’ll need one. That issue is not that they don’t have an estate plan but simply that, in their mind, they don’t have an estate plan yet. They are fully committed to making one eventually, but they’re putting it off.
Why they put it off can vary. Some don’t want to pay. Others believe they have decades left and so there’s no point. Still others aren’t sure how they want to start, and they don’t feel that they have time to figure it out.
But does this tactic of procrastinating ever actually make sense?
Remember that no plan is set in stone
The thing to keep in mind is that updating your plan is always an option. Almost everything can be changed if you want it to.
So, someone who says they are only 40 and that they don’t need an estate plan yet may be correct that the plan won’t be used for 40 more years. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t create a plan at 40. This way, if something unexpected happens, they already have everything in place. If life goes as planned, they can update it for years as their situation changes. There’s no downside to making the plan early.
Plus, there are some important estate planning documents that you only really use at a young age. For example, you can choose a guardian for your child. This only applies as long as they’re a minor, in most cases, so that may be something you want to do in your 20s or 30s.
Creating your plan
Have you been thinking about making an estate plan and trying to decide where to begin? It can help to learn as much as possible about this important legal process.