Like many people, you may recognize the importance of having an estate plan in place yet still do not have one. Alternatively, you may have a basic estate plan in place, but your plan lacks vital components. If either scenario applies to you, you have likely been hindered by one or more common estate planning obstacles. To help you get a comprehensive plan in place, the Londonderry estate planning attorneys at DeBruyckere Law Offices discuss common estate planning obstacles.
Believing You Do Not Need a Plan
By far the most common obstacle people face when creating an estate plan is getting past the belief that they do not need one. You may think that your assets are not valuable enough to warrant an estate plan or that you only need a plan if you are married and/or have children. The truth is that every adult can benefit from having an estate plan in place. Although your assets may not be valuable in monetary terms, they probably mean something to you. More importantly, you probably want to decide who gets them if something happens to you instead of letting the state decide. Likewise, being unmarried or childless does not mean you don’t need an estate plan. Along with preventing the state from deciding what happens to your assets, an estate plan can plan for the possibility of your incapacity, for the cost of long-term care, and cover things such as business succession planning and providing for your pets.
Trying to Create Your Own Plan
It can be tempting to resolve your lack of an estate plan by trying to create your own plan using forms you find on the internet. Going the “DIY” route, however, often creates its own set of obstacles. You may get frustrated trying to decide which form you need, what language to include in the forms, and how the forms interact with each other. Ultimately, you may end up doing more harm than good by trying to create your own estate plan because the documents may lack crucial language, may not be properly executed and may fail to cover all your estate planning needs. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is the only way to ensure that your estate plan addresses all your needs and works as intended.
Distribution and Fiduciary Dilemmas
Creating an estate plan requires you to make numerous decisions regarding how your assets will be distributed after you are gone and whom to appoint to important fiduciary positions within your plan. It can be easy to get hung up on these decisions, causing the estate planning process to grind to a halt. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you decide how to divide your estate assets and offer solutions to specific problems, such as a beneficiary with spendthrift tendencies or with special needs. Your attorney can also explain the duties and responsibilities of the various fiduciary positions and help you decide who the right person is to appoint to the position.
Reluctance to Face Reality
You may have a basic estate plan in place that addresses the distribution of your estate assets in the event of your death; however, your plan may be incomplete because you really do not want to think about other important issues, such as the possibility of your incapacity, the likelihood of needing long-term care, and the details of your funeral and burial. None of us want to consider these issues but failing to do so could mean that someone not of your choosing makes important medical decisions for you while you are alive or plans the details of your funeral after you are gone. It can also leave your assets at risk if you ever need long-term care or if you suffer a period of incapacity. Including components such as incapacity, long-term care, and funeral planning in your estate plan is the only way to get past this obstacle.
Contact Londonderry Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions about estate planning, contact the Londonderry estate planning attorneys at DeBruyckere Law Offices by calling (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331 to schedule an appointment.
- Trust Administration Checklist for the First-Time Trustee - March 28, 2023
- Commonly Overlooked Estate Planning Topics - March 23, 2023
- Why You Should Review Your Estate Plan When You Retire - March 21, 2023