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Why People Fail to Prepare a Will or Trust: Providing Clarity For a New Year

Psychology teaches that we are more likely to keep resolutions adopted at the beginning of the year or the beginning of new month. There is something about flipping that calendar page that gives us a feeling of accomplishment, and the endorphin boost to take on new tasks. It’s the ticking of time that brings about the urgency.

Preparing ones Last Will and a Trust is something often postponed. It is like going to the proverbial dentist appointment – perceived pain without immediate gratification. The holds true for weight loss. Passing up that one donut has little immediate impact. However, when it comes to estate planning, after over 20 years of helping families plan, my experience is that there is immediate gratification in estate planning.

Informed adults are aware at some level that there is a cost for not planning. It is in the back of their mind. Absent a trigger, these adults fail to act. Rather, they tell themselves I will plan tomorrow. It is a burden for responsible adults to not have all aspects of their lives in order. Especially one as important as the transferring the assets accumulated in a lifetime from one generation to the next. 

Some perceived burdens include insufficient time or costs too much. Here too there is a lack of clarity. There lack of time is an illusion and often mistaken. In my experience, a better term is a lack of energy to add another task to one’s life. However, when you go to qualified attorney and are working with a team who is experienced in handling Wills and Trusts matters, your time and energy are spared. An experienced law firm will do the work for you. They will make the calls for you. They will anticipate your needs so you do not have to waster your time or energy on addressing the issues. On the contrary, it is thrilling to have an experienced team bring order to something that was not complete in your life. It’s like walking on the conveyor walkways at O’Hare Airport. Each step you take, with the help of a team, glides you forward to your goal.

As to the cost issues, that often belies a deeper issue of value. The long term costs are much higher when there is a failure to plan. This is just as true for small as well as large estates. Furthermore, adults rarely consider all the issues they are facing as they enter into the last phases of life. For large estates we are dealing with taxes – both income and inheritance – as well as transfer of assets. For smaller estate’s we are considering creditor issues as well as the estate destroying costs of long term care such as nursing homes. In all cases, you can legally manage how you want to age with dignity.  An experienced Wills and Trusts attorney who also understands Elder Law can help you navigate these issues. The costs of properly addressing these issues makes customized estate planning a bargain – often costing small fraction of what is saved.

People know when these issues are getting addressed. They recognize the detail they are delving into during a detailed estate planning process, and they can see the results. It is my experience, that clients are delighted in the signing meeting. They are thrilled to get their estate plan binders back with their assets summarized and instructions prepared and ready. In those moments, they realize the perceived barriers that laid the foundation for procrastination were an illusion. Don’t let perceived barriers get in the way of scheduling an appointment to learn more about your family’s situation. Most estate planning law firms will conduct an initial free consultation to get enable you to get to know the law firm and their procedures. 

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