Your will can't wait. We get it. There are a thousand things you'd rather think about and do before meeting with an estate planning lawyer to draft your will and estate plan. Or, you think you’ve time to “get around to it.” However, the last few years have shown, we can't take our health for granted. A better approach: make an appointment to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney. Go ahead and book an appointment. It won't be painful.
For one couple, this important task was set aside for decades. They had a will created when their children were toddlers to name guardians and ensure financial security for the children, as described by Next Avenue in the article “6 Reasons You’re Putting Off Writing a Will and How to Overcome Them.”
This important task is all too easy to put off. Here's why all of those thoughts about why it can wait is procrastination that can come back to bite you.
You think you just don't quite have enough assets for a will or estate plan to matter. Did you know that in Wisconsin if you have assets worth $50,000 or more your estate MUST go through probate. So maybe you do have an estate after all?
But here’s the thing. An estate plan is not just about money. It also includes end-of-life planning, naming someone to have control of your finances if you become incapacitated and can’t do it yourself. It also includes giving someone the power to make healthcare decisions. A Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney (or Proxy), and Living Will can prevent your loved ones from the expensive and time consuming process of having to go to court to be appointed a guardian or spend the rest of their lives wishing they’d known what you wanted.
You’d rather not think about your own mortality. None of us wants to think about death, dying, or being seriously ill. But if you die without an estate plan in place, your children will be left to sort everything out at great stress and cost. So let's talk about if you have minor children. That note you tucked in your desk drawer saying you want your sister to be the guardian of your kids, that will work right? Wrong. If you die without a will then a court will decide who will be the guardian of your kids. And we can all agree that's not how we want to plan for our children.
You think it’ll take too much time. Unless you have vast real estate holdings, investments and millions, an estate plan and related documents do not take much more time than planning a vacation or getting your taxes filed. Besides that's one reason you hire an estate planning attorney. After meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney to review your assets, discuss your wishes for the future and review your family situation, the documents can be sent back and forth via email until they are completed. Signing the documents will take another office visit, but that's pretty much it. It’s time well spent.
You don’t want to make hard decisions. Nobody does. But these are important decisions. After you make them, you will be surprised at how much peace of mind you'll have. It's an accomplishment. Some of our clients refer to it as a critical part of their "adulting."
The final sticking point: estate plans are expensive! The bottom line is that estate planning is affordable. Most plans cost between $2,000 and $4,000. Spread that cost of the plan out over your lifetime and it's less costly than insurance or your tax preparations. Moreover, it is far less expensive than not having an estate plan. In Wisconsin, if your estate goes to probate without a will your estate will likely require the cost of three attorneys instead of the one to draft a plan in the first place. And then there is the filing fee for probate court. And there is the cost to your family to sort everything out after the fact that could have and should have been done already.
The fix is easy. If you are in the Madison, Wisconsin area, call Rick Coad, an experienced estate planning attorney. Book a call and let's get started. You and your family will be better prepared for whatever life brings you. You’ll also enjoy peace of mind of knowing that you’ve done the right thing for your loved ones.
Reference: Next Avenue (Feb. 25, 2022) “6 Reasons You’re Putting Off Writing a Will and How to Overcome Them.”