A staggering number (64%) of Americans have no will in place. According to a recent survey, here are the top reasons why they've put it off:
1. "I'm too young to write a will."
This is a common excuse - young people don't die so they don't need to plan for their death. It's the invincibility fallacy. The truth is that young people die all the time and that tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. Life is unpredictable.
2. "I don't want to think about dying."
Some people think there is a "jinx" surrounding estate planning - that if they plan for their death, they will die soon thereafter. This can be a trigger point for people to plan - being confronted with their own mortality through the death of a loved one or a near-death experience.
3. The belief that assets will automatically pass to the right people
Most people know they their next-of-kin will inherit their estates if they fail to plan - they just don't realize how and in what amounts. Or that non-married partners are inadvertently leaving each other out of their respective estates. Use Prince's estate as an example. He likely would not have treated all of his 8 full and half-siblings equally in his estate had he planned ahead. Intestacy is never a good Plan A.
4. Drafting a will is expensive
Not so. Not only can you draft your own will in North Carolina, most attorneys will prepare a will for anywhere from $100 - $600. You must also look at planning as an investment rather than an expense. You're investing a small amount now to make sure your family doesn't get stuck with a larger bill after you pass. Planning done right is worth its weight in gold.
5. The belief that only wealthy people need wills
There are numerous reasons for people to create a will other than the size of their potential estate. Probably the best example are minor children, who need guardians to be appointed in the parents' wills.
6. Reluctant to discuss personal details with an attorney
While it can be uncomfortable to discuss private matters with near strangers, you should rest assured that attorneys will safeguard your conversations as privileged attorney-client communications. Their lips are sealed.
7. Unaware of the consequences of not having a will
A lack of education is a very common issue in estate planning. Most people know very little about what estate planning does, let alone what happens if you don't plan at all.
The best way to get the ball rolling on planning is to call and meet with an attorney to discuss your options. Some attorneys, like me, have free initial consultations.