Estate Planning and Procrastination
What is it about estate planning that makes people procrastinate? Let’s take a look at the most likely reasons:
I’m Too Busy
Who has time these days to think about estate planning? Most days, especially for those of us with families at home, we struggle to find enough time to do what we enjoy before heading off to bed. How does this leave time to deal with something as complex as estate planning?
This is a common concern that we hear all the time. The truth is the whole process can be accomplished from start to finish within a couple of weeks and the time you personally have to devote to this process is minimal. Usually all that’s required is having an initial meeting, supplying information on your assets, and having a second meeting to review and sign everything. That’s it, we take care of the rest. Think of it like taking your car to the mechanic. You don’t take your car to the mechanic and expect to work on the car yourself. You take the car to the mechanic, tell them what needs to be fixed, then pick up the car when it’s done.
I Don’t Have a lot of Stuff and Estate Planning is Too Expensive
First of all, estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy. Besides, estate planning is more than giving your wealth to your beneficiaries. Comprehensive estate plans include documents that appoint agents to act on your behalf through Powers of Attorney for instances in which you are unable to make decisions on your own due to incapacity. Furthermore, simple Wills are not that expensive and allow you to give your estate to whomever you want, not to whom the Oklahoma law directs.
Second of all, you may not have a lot of stuff now, but you might have more stuff later on. Why not go ahead and get everything set up in a way that protects your beneficiaries, regardless of the size of your estate? While Trusts are more expensive than Wills, they will not cause you to break the bank in legal fees and they can give extensive protections to your beneficiaries while avoiding probate.
What Do I Care, I’ll Be Gone Anyway
Well, you’re not wrong. However, do you really want to leave your spouse or kids with the mess of probating your estate? Probates are typically more expensive than estate planning and, at a minimum, could last six months and sometimes years. Furthermore, an inheritance passing through probate will not provide any protection to your heirs. The protections that your heirs would miss out on could be creditor protection, divorce protection, and disability benefits protection for heirs that are on Medicaid and/or SSI. Think of how you want your legacy to pass to the next generation. Do you want to leave a long and expensive process or do you want to make things quick and easy?
My Spouse Will Get Everything Anyway
DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP. Most people don’t know this, but if you die without a Will in Oklahoma, your spouse typically DOES NOT get all of your estate. If you have children with your spouse, your spouse will get 50% of your individual property and your children split the other 50%. If you have children that are not with your spouse, your spouse and children all equally divide your estate. Finally, if you don’t have kids, your spouse only gets one-third (1/3) of your estate! Your parents or siblings split the remaining two-thirds (2/3).
Still Want to Procrastinate?
Hopefully you now see the importance of having your estate planning completed, along with some reassurance that the process is a lot easier and less daunting than you might have thought.
If you have questions about estate planning, contact Carpenter Law Firm. With our 40+ years of experience, we have helped numerous families protect their loved ones. Call us at 918-298-1001 or set up your free consultation today.