Estate planning should be a part of every individual’s life. However, many people choose to put off estate planning for far too long. Some never wind up engaging in it. There are a variety of reasons for the hesitation and procrastination. More often than not, people are afraid to confront their own mortality. They believe estate planning is only meant for the wealthy, or they feel overwhelmed by the process. None of these concerns are valid. This week we will look at how New Yorkers can simplify the estate planning process so that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
The first suggestion is to break estate planning down into smaller, more easily manageable pieces. Instead of looking at the entirety of an estate plan and becoming overwhelmed, individuals can look at creating a will, one or more trusts, a power of attorney, a healthcare directive and a power of attorney for healthcare. Addressing each one of these key pieces in sequential order can make the process seem easier to overcome. It can also allow one to focus on the most urgent estate planning needs, such as identifying and naming beneficiaries.
Second, individuals need to talk about the need for estate planning with their loved ones. Of course, having a discussion about death or becoming incapacitated can be uncomfortable at first, but opening up the dialogue really creates a sense of peace and an eye toward the future. This, in turn, makes it much easier to focus on the estate planning process.
There are many ways that individuals can focus on creating an estate plan that is right for them. Legal professionals who are experienced in this field can help them develop a strategy that works for them and is most in line with their needs at the time. However, skilled attorneys will also advise that estate planning documents need to be updated from time-to-time to ensure accuracy, legitimacy and an alignment with an individual’s wishes. Therefore, discussing these matters with one’s attorney can be of the utmost importance.