I know you love your family, so please read and share… Since Prince’s recent unfortunate death, I have been singing his songs in my purple bathroom. Do not worry…I am not attaching a video to this blog. The news has reported that Prince did not have an estate plan for his estimated $300 million estate. I find it interesting how shocked people are. Really, why? Some websites cite that more than half (50%!) of Americans do not have estate plans. Do you have an estate plan? If so, you rock…if not, why not? Here are three reasons so many people do not have estate plans and why everyone should.
1. You do not want to think or talk about death. While we all know that we are going to die, we seem to believe so strongly that it will not happen to us “right now,” that we have time. We buy health insurance even though we hope we do not get seriously sick. We buy homeowner’s insurance even though we hope never to have our basement flooded. We buy automobile insurance even though we hope never to have an accident. Why do we not think of an estate plan in the same way?
Why you need an estate plan: Well, unless you are a psychic, then you have no idea when your time will come. You cannot predict whether you will die at 26 or 76. The time to plan is now.
2. You do not want to pay to establish an estate plan. Yes, estate planning does cost money in terms of attorney and financial planning fees, as well as time, and the cost is proportional to the value of your estate. If you only need a will, living will, and health care proxy, then your planning will be relatively simple. If you have multiple properties, retirement accounts, or investment accounts, then more time will be required. Yet again, I am sure that you pay for health, homeowner’s, and auto insurance.
Why you need an estate plan: Without an estate plan, the taxes and attorney costs to settle your estate after your death will most likely be greater than the cost to establish an estate plan in the first place. An estate plan is a great investment.
3. You do not want to create family conflict. True, talking about estate planning could create conflict, such as if one of your children has an issue like an addiction that you do not trust them, or if you fear spoiling your children if they have access to a significant inheritance, or if some of the decisions that you want to make may be unpopular amongst your family.
Why you need an estate plan: If there is potential for conflict while establishing an estate plan, you better believe that conflict will occur, and most likely to a great degree when your family is left to their own devices to divide your estate after your death. You can minimize conflict by creating a plan.
No matter your age and no matter whether you have an estate of 3 thousand or 300 million, run now to an estate planning attorney and get your affairs in order. And if you do not know one, contact me, as I have some excellent resources. It is one of the most important things you can do for your family.
In this world nothing is sure but death and taxes. – Benjamin Franklin