It is both easy and convenient to ignore the harsh truth of mortality. While we try to focus on the good things in life and living in the present, acknowledging the inevitable throws a silencing wrench into our plans. It cuts things short, causes disruptions, and worst of all, affects our loved ones. No wonder we have a hard time thinking about death.
To no surprise, people typically procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. In fact, only 33% of Americans have a will in place. On top of thinking about mortality, spending time and money to document your post-mortem wishes makes it easy to kick the can down the road. However, something that can be so easy to overlook can become problematic after it is too late.
There are a multitude of cautionary tales of the rich and the famous (Prince, Pablo Picasso, Stieg Larsson) who did not get their financial affairs in order and are still paying for it. Not having the proper estate documents in place creates confusion about your wishes, which can end with irreparable rifts amongst rightful heirs and higher legal costs needed to sort through the mess. Talk about having the opposite effect.
While it may be uncomfortable to think about your mortality, having a well-crafted estate plan brings order and peace of mind, knowing your assets will properly transfer as you see fit. In addition to clearly laying out one’s wishes, a proper estate plan can likely preserve relationships amongst heirs and maintain the size of the estate by minimizing additional legal costs.
If you do not have an estate plan in place, please give us a call. We would be glad to discuss the implications it can have on your overall financial plan and put you in touch with a professional who can help you get things in order.