Estate planning is a necessity for almost everyone in the United States. If you have any assets whatsoever, you need a legal plan to pass them on to your designated beneficiaries. That’s true regardless of your net worth, even if the value appears to be negligible. Estates with higher value may become more complicated, but every adult needs to have some sort of plan for their assets and personal possessions after they pass on.
Interestingly, though, most people don’t. If you have a plan already, you’re actually in the minority.
The reasons people give for avoiding taking action have a wide range. Some don’t know that they need a plan at all because they think, incorrectly, that estate planning is just for the super-wealthy. For others, they trust their heirs to figure it out on their own, so they don’t bother to do it. Still others find the whole process a bit intimidating, so they don’t begin, or they don’t understand what steps to take to initiate the process.
Perhaps the most common reason, though, is that people procrastinate. They plan to do their estate planning next year, or after their next birthday or some time in the indeterminate future. If you ask people that you know why they don’t have an estate plan and if they think they need one, what you’ll find is that most will tell you that they do know that they need one, but no, they don’t have one. And, often, they’ll admit that they’re planning on doing it when they get older.
If you do not have a plan right now, you may not want to take the risk of putting it off. If you do have one, you still want to consider how life can change from year to year and why you may need to update the plan.