Most Massachusetts residents know that they should have an estate plan in place but, for a wide variety of reasons, many people put off this important task. A recent news article noted some of the common concerns that people have when it comes to the need for estate plans.
For starters, the recent article mentioned that many people can be “superstitious” about drafting and signing estate planning documents, thinking that addressing end-of-life concerns is an invitation for “bad luck.” Another reason cited in the article is that some people have an attitude of which they simply don’t care what happens to their possessions after they die. While these concerns can be somewhat understandable, they are mostly emotional reactions. Estate planning is actually good, rational organization strategy. Even those who may not have much of a concern about where their assets go might change their mind when they actually sit down and think about all that they own, who they want to have it and how default state “intestate” laws would distribute those assets.
Next, there is a common concern from some people that they simply do not have enough assets to even need to worry about estate planning. But, as previous posts here have mentioned, estate planning is about much more than just the distribution of assets after death. Other important documents, such as power of attorney documents, are usually included in comprehensive estate plans, as is a designation of who should be the legal guardian of minor children, if that need arises.
Lastly, the recent article mentioned that many people just “put off” estate planning, thinking that they will get around to the task sooner or later. Waiting, however, can be the biggest mistake when it comes to estate planning. When Massachusetts residents don’t have an estate plan in place, they may be thrusting their surviving family members into a messy probate situation.