The topic of wills and estate planning is not an easy one for many people, and so they may find themselves putting it off as the years go by. However, failing to have such a plan in place may leave their families with miles of legal red tape. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, only about 70% of people over 60 years of age currently have an estate plan or will in place.
While it may seem financially hazardous to avoid creating a document that plans for the future of loved ones, many Americans do so for several reasons.
1. Discomfort with the topic
Many Americans avoid making a will or an estate plan because they are not comfortable considering or discussing their own mortality, while others do not want to upset their adult children or grandchildren. While this is a common issue, proper planning for choosing a time and place to create a more comfortable atmosphere could help those involved feel more secure.
2. Feeling overwhelmed by the process
Some individuals view the creation of wills and estate plans as an overwhelming task. They may not know where to turn for legal advice or how to find all the information they need. Seniors may find the process especially daunting, but reaching out to local community resources, such as a local library, may put them on the right path and reduce anxiety.
3. Feeling trapped by tradition
Television, movies and the culture of one’s own family call for certain traditions when it comes to making a will or estate plan, and many people feel bound by them. However, since every individual and his or her family has their own needs, authors of these documents may want to think outside these boundaries to improve their effectiveness.
Making a list of heirs and assets before starting a will or estate plan may also help their authors feel more comfortable and confident before they begin.