Procrastination Factor – Why we avoid any estate planning
Many people would just as soon change the topic when “death and dying” come up. Admittedly, the subject does not make lively party conversation.
Still, it is necessary to plan for an orderly estate transfer – whether you are 25 or 75 years of age — and is a responsibility too important to put off. If the topic stops you cold, you are not alone.
By some estimate, more than 50 percent of all people die without wills. One explanation is that they are uncomfortable with the idea of their own demise; however, there’s more to it than that. It is called the Procrastination Factor. Now, most people do not mean to procrastinate. They simply are not aware and they do not see the urgency.
Some of the reasons that most people procrastinate include:
General Avoidance. Many people simply avoid thinking about unpleasant change in their lives. Some of these people are methodical and businesslike, and others tend to put most things off in their lives. The process is emotionally challenging. For example, creating a will can be very stressful since it can bring up questions of unresolved family conflicts, loyalty, and deciding who gets what and even whom do I love the most.
Another factor is that other family members can discourage planning. Even when a person comes to terms with these issues, it may be upsetting to others who would also rather avoid confronting them. Many of us dismiss the effort with such comments as “Let’s not discuss this now” or “We can see that Grandma is going to outlive all of us.” It is also possible that the process can be complicated and unpleasant.
Estate planning requires decisions we would just as soon not address, and there may be many confusing details in this process. Many member of the family feel a loss of control as they surrender this to “experts” who inform them what is required for a Revocable Trust. Some people have to acknowledge their own mortality and the fear of death. The reason usually is that “as long as I do not think about it, it won’t happen”.
Regardless of our reasons, we cannot afford the luxury of procrastination for the sake of our loved ones. One can find many horror stories about the outcome of those failing to plan. It happens all too often that assets end up unnecessarily paying estate taxes, leaving widows and children with major lifestyle losses.
When there is no will, the state determines who gets what without regard for anyone’s wishes. This can cause conflict among families. It is common to want to procrastinate.
However, estate planning is one of those things we do because we have a spouse, children or other loved ones. Do it for them.