“I’ll do estate planning next year.”
“I’ll plan for my estate and incapacitation when I have X amount of dollars in the bank.”
“We are too young to have to worry about estate planning.”
“I’m healthy, why should I worry about incapacitation?”
“We don’t have enough assets to worry about estate planning.”
“I’m married so my spouse can just handle everything if I become incapacitated.”
“Probate will be fast and cheap.”
“Guardianship is only for the elderly or children who lose their parents.”
“Guardianship will be fast and cheap.”
“I just need a simple will.”
“My spouse can take care of our kids if something happens to me.”
“My sister/brother/mother/oldest kid can take care of our children if something happens to me and my spouse.”
These are just some of the stories that people tell themselves to make estate planning a low or no- priority item in their life. The problem with these stories is that they are all lies. Yep, lies we tell ourselves because we’re scared of dying or becoming incapacitated, we’re ashamed to think that we don’t have “enough” assets, and we’ve chosen to prioritize other things because we don’t understand the true cost of not having a plan in place.
So lets dig deep into these stories, and discover the consequences of believing these lies we tell ourselves:
“I’ll do estate planning next year.” – COVID has taken 769,000+ American lives through to November 2021. 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year. More than 38,000 people die every year in crashes on U.S. roadways. Next year is simply not guaranteed, for any of us.
“I’ll plan for my estate and incapacitation when I have X amount of dollars in the bank.” – Which would you rather have to spend? $2,500 to $9,000 on an estate plan that will take care of you, your family, and your children, allow fast access to funds and assets, keep transfers private, and minimize estate and gift tax burdens or $10,000+ for guardianship litigation, a lawyer for you, a lawyer for your petitioning family member, a panel of three experts, months of reports, AND $25,000 in probate legal fees, costs, bonds, accountings, and valuations for a moderate half million dollar estate, where everything is public, it takes 12-18 months for assets to be distributed, and where creditors get paid first?
“We are too young to have to worry about estate planning.” I have known TOO many young people who died from upper respiratory infections the past two years (when they were otherwise healthy) or who have become incapacitated due to stroke, accidents, or cancer. AGE is irrelevant. We are all succeptible to incapacitation and death.
“I’m healthy, why should I worry about incapacitation?” – 47% of American adults have high blood pressure, 13% of American adults have diabetes, 72% of Americans adults are overweight. Looking at these statistics, we aren’t as healthy as we tell ourselves we are and we are at a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, and death than we think.
“We don’t have enough assets to worry about estate planning.” – If you have minor children, a home, retirement accounts, investment accounts, bank accounts, life insurance, etc. you have enough to need to plan for your death and incapacitation.
“I’m married so my spouse can just handle everything if I become incapacitated.” – While I wish this was the case, that is simply not reality. In order to lawfully make legal, financial, and health decisions for another person you need one of two things 1) correct legal documents in place that appoint that person and have not been revoked or 2) costly guardianship proceedings. To learn more about this you can ready about the Terry Schiavo case, here: https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)61439-0/fulltext
“Probate will be fast and cheap.” – There is NO SUCH THING as a fast and cheap probate. Even Summary Administration, which requires having an estate worth less than $75,000 or waiting until after a person has been deceased for TWO (2) YEARS, costs an average of $5,000 and can take three (3) months to a year. Formal administration, which is necessary for anyone with an estate worth more than $75,000 or who cannot wait 2 years, costs about 5% of the value of the estate assets plus 12-18 months of probate administration…and this is for uncontested cases.
“Guardianship is only for the elderly or children who lose their parents.” – I know people under 50 years of age who suffered incapacitation that left them able to work for months or years at a time. Cancer, stroke, accidents etc…do not care how many candles you’ve blown out on that cake.
“Guardianship will be fast and cheap.” – Emergency guardianship is available in some cases, but in order for a law firm to drop everything to make your case a priority, its going to cost a lot of money. Tens of thousands of dollars. A standard uncontested guardianship will begin at around $10,000 and take three (3) months on average.
“I just need a simple will.” – There is no such thing as a “simple will.” There is such as thing as simple and costly mistakes: naming the wrong personal representatives, not updating your will for deceased beneficiaries, failing to name your spouse or children, referring to people that you’ve not formally adopted or formally recognized as your child as a “child,” not addressing bonds, failing to have the right number of witnesses, failing to have the right people notarized, etc. Those simple and costly mistakes will make for lengthy and expensive probate litigation.
“My spouse can take care of our kids if something happens to me.” – This fails to take into account that 1) you both can become incapacitated or die in a mutual accident, 2) you may be the only breadwinner in the family, 3) your child may not be your spouse’s legal child, 4) your spouse may have alcohol or drug dependency issues that may become exponentially worse with your death or incapacitation, and more.
“My sister/brother/mother/oldest kid can take care of our children if something happens to me and my spouse.” This fails to take into account that 1) your family may not be able to afford taking care of your children, 2) your family’s personal life or marriage may not be able to handle children, 3) your family member may have alcohol or drug dependency issues that may become exponentially worse with your death or incapacitation, 4) you may have multiple family members who have conflicting views about who takes your children, and more.
To learn more about how to avoid the pitfalls of the stories we tell ourselves and truly put a plan in place that will protect you, your children, and your family, schedule the two (2) hour Family Wealth Planning Session. Its as simple as emailing LegalAdmin@lcolawfl.com or go to Calendly.com/lcolaw to pick a time that works with your schedule.
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