5 Ridiculous Reasons Why You’ve Delayed Creating Your Will

5 Ridiculous Reasons Why You've Delayed Creating Your Will

By Amy Holmes Trust and Estate Counsel

 

Last week, my eldest son came to me with an excuse for not completing his homework. I chuckled to myself as he spoke. Not because of the incomplete assignment. But because his excuse reminded me of some conversations I’ve had with clients.

Let me explain:

My work is my passion. I love helping people. However, many people tend not to think about the consequences of inappropriate planning.

That’s my job.

Some clients come up with outlandish and sometimes funny excuses for why they’ve failed to plan their estate.

Here are five of the most common excuses I hear:

  1. We are not done having kids yet.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that they can’t or shouldn’t create a Will until their family is complete.

This misconception is not only incorrect but can have disastrous consequences.

Without a Will, you are leaving your children unprotected. They need a plan in place should the unthinkable occur. It is not uncommon for families to have a spread of 5-plus years between the births of their first and last children.

If you have a child, you need a Will, period.

There is no need to list each child by name in your Will. Doing so is only a matter of personal preference. For those who wish to do so, it can be accomplished with a codicil (that’s lawyer speak for addendum).

Did you know you don’t even need to have kids to have a Will that provides for them?

I encourage couples who do not have children yet to draft their Wills with any future children in mind. Doing so takes the pressure off new parents. If, for any reason, children don’t end up in the picture, no harm done; it’s a few extra sentences in your Will.

  1. We are going to move one day.

Many people put off creating a Will because they plan to move at some point in the future. I see this with many of my clients who are renting in New York City but who see a house in the suburbs in their 3-5-year plan. That suburban dream house may be in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.

The assumption is that if they move to a different state, their New York Will will no longer be valid. A Will that was validly executed (that means signed under oath and witnessed) in one state will be honored by every other state.

Imagine the chaos that would ensue if it weren’t. So, you do not need to re-do your Will because you ended up in Fairfield County, not Westchester County.

  1. I don’t own any property.

First, this is almost NEVER true. You don’t need to own a four-bedroom colonial full of antiques and family heirlooms on a sprawling 4 acres to have an “estate” worth planning for.

If you own property, you owe it to your family and friends to consider how you would like that property distributed after you’re gone.

Second, and even more importantly, owning property is not the only reason to have a Will. As discussed above in No.1, if you have children, you need a Will that designates a Guardian. This is the ONLY way to ensure that your wishes about who should care for your children are followed.

  1. We can’t agree on guardianship.

The vast majority of my clients who finally come to me after years of procrastination blame their delay on the issue of guardianship.

I get it. This is a biggie.

They either:

(1) can’t agree on who to choose as their Guardian (i.e., she hates his sister….he hates her parents),

Or

(2) believe they have nobody they can ask to serve as their Guardian

Or

(3) worry that their Guardian is too old…or not financially secure

Or

(4) are concerned that selecting their Guardian will mean hurting someone’s feelings

Or (and this is a huge deal)

(5) can’t even discuss the topic without fighting or crying.

The first thing I tell them is they are NOT alone. Very few clients walk into my office 100% certain about their choice for Guardian. Many have not even been able to have a productive conversation about it before our meeting. Couples rarely agree from the outset.

The good news is that I’ve been doing this for a long time. Over the past fifteen years, I’ve heard it ALL. I’ve always been able to help my clients even when they struggle to come up with a choice that everyone can feel comfortable with.

The two best pieces of advice I give them are:

(1) NO choice is going to feel good because it’s not you

(2) make the best choice for next week, NOT next year.

If your Mom is the right choice next week, but you are worried that she may not be up to the task five years from now, your Mom should be your Guardian.

When and if things change, which they will, we can make simple changes at a fraction of the cost and time.

  1. I’m going to live forever.

Obviously, this is the most ridiculous of all the reasons. News Flash…. you’re going to die, we all are. Nobody likes to think about, let alone talk about, and plan for the eventuality of their demise. It’s human nature. It’s not fun!

I promise you’ll feel better once it’s done!

Amy S. Holmes is a highly regarded attorney with over twenty years of legal experience. She started her practice, which is focused on Trusts and Estates, in 2007 with the goal of providing top-quality estate planning and legal services with a caring and personal touch. She takes great pride in her ability to make planning one’s estate or administering the estate of a loved one a manageable and comforting experience.

 

Read more insights from the Rooney Law team here.

 

© 2024 Rooney Law. All rights reserved. Rooney Law PC is an international corporate law firm. In accordance with the common terminology used in professional service organizations, reference to a “partner” means a person who is a partner or equivalent in such a law firm. Similarly, reference to an “office” means an office of any such law firm. This may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Nothing herein shall create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Rooney Law PC.

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