The next time you’re with a group of friends or co-workers, take a moment and ask how many of them know they’ll need an estate plan eventually. Odds are that most of them will raise their hands, understanding that they’ll eventually have to pass their assets on. Then ask them how many of them already have an estate plan. You’re going to see most of those hands go down.
This is not to call out your social group in particular, but just to expose the general trend in the United States. Most people have never done any estate planning, and should their family need it tomorrow, they would not have a plan in place.
Of course, as the first question showed, everyone does need an estate plan. Most people know that. So, why don’t they do it?
Everyone has their own reasons. For many, they just feel too busy, and it sounds like a lot of work. For others, they’re unsure where they should begin, so they end up doing nothing. For many, the issue is that they assume they still have years in which to craft that estate plan, so it’s something that they’re “going to do later.” In fact, if you asked your friends why they haven’t made a legal plan that they know they need, this is likely the answer that they would give you.
It does not take much to see that this is quite a risk, though. Everyone needs a plan, and it’s best to have it done far in advance. If you want to do so, be sure you know what steps to take.