Why We Put Off Estate Planning

In April of 2016, Prince died without a will, meaning Prince died “intestate.” Considering the size of Prince’s estate, it could take years to sort out. The fact that Prince died without leaving behind a valid will is surprising since he was no stranger to contractual agreements, which were an important aspect of his music career.

We can all learn from Prince’s passing: That everyone should at the very least have a will. Whether you’re 25 or 65, it’s never too early to begin the estate planning process. Most estate planning and probate attorneys will agree that everyone should have a basic estate plan, regardless of how much wealth they have accumulated.

An estate plan is the only way that you can control what happens to your home and your estate when you die. If you don’t care about what happens to your estate, you probably don’t want your survivors, such as your spouse, children, grandchildren or other beneficiaries to be saddled with a mess.

Why do people procrastinate?

While we can only guess Prince’s reasons for not creating an estate plan, we can tell you why so many people procrastinate. Often, people hold off on estate planning for the following reasons:

  • They think they are too young
  • They are in good health
  • They don’t think they have an estate
  • They do not like to contemplate their own mortality
  • They find the process confusing

If you find yourself procrastinating because any of the above reasons, remember that everyone should have a basic estate plan, including you, because a well-drafted plan: 1) ensures your wishes are carried out, 2) reduces probate costs, and 3) minimizes the chances of a will contest or estate litigation.

If you’re afraid of it being complicated, your attorney can make sure that the process is simple and straightforward. If you find the process intimidating, or if you think you’re too young, you can draw up something basic just so something is in place, and then you can revisit it later on. In fact, you can change your will whenever you feel like it.

Not Having a Will Presents Challenges

If you don’t have a will, it can have an impact on who ends up controlling your assets, and who receives your assets. For the decedent who dies without a will, whether they are a rich celebrity like Prince or a non-celebrity, the probate process is the same.

If the decedent died without a will, the decedent’s assets will go to their closest living relatives according to the state’s intestate succession laws, which may not be what the deceased would have intended.

If you’re interested in creating an estate plan, contact an estate planning attorney today!