You probably don’t want to make a resolution that requires you to think about your own mortality and what will happen when you’re gone, but if you haven’t finished your estate plan, it’s definitely something you need to put on your To-Do list for 2022.
Because the reality is that a half-finished estate plan is as useful as not having one at all. Don’t let the work you’ve done so far go to waste – resolve to wrap it up in 2022!
Why Does Estate Plan Procrastination Happen?
You can come up with plenty of reasons to avoid finishing your estate plan. The reminder that you are not, in fact, immortal being at the top of the list. There may also be concerns about how your assets and possessions being distributed could cause strife within your family or other beneficiaries. Finding the right estate planning attorney, or setting up a follow-up meeting may be what’s standing in your way. All of this may cause you to sweep the whole idea under the rug. But just like that hidden dirt and debris, having it out of sight, doesn’t really make the problem go away.
Even if you are comfortable tackling the issue, the individual choices you need to make to nail down an estate plan can feel overwhelming. Depending on your family dynamics, beneficiaries may end up feeling frustrated, sad, or even angry about their inheritance. Keep in mind that it’s impossible to please everyone, and that shouldn’t be the point of your plan. The alternative is having a court and state law decide who gets what, which is unlikely to follow your own personal wishes.
Of course, an unfinished estate plan may just be the side effect of dealing with what feel like more pressing issues. The holidays, family responsibilities, work and other major life events that affect your here and now can easily delay plans for the future. This is completely understandable, but the reality is that it can also have serious consequences that could add a large and emotionally charged burden to your family’s plate when you pass away.
What Are the Results of an Unfinished Estate Plan?
No matter your reason for not finishing your estate plan, the results are the same: whatever you’ve already put together or were working on is likely unenforceable. Even if there are documentations of your wishes, without a valid signature (usually requiring witnesses), your estate will be forced through probate. Expensive and time-consuming, probate is a public legal proceeding that puts your private affairs on display. Probate isn’t always a stressful experience for beneficiaries, but it leaves open the opportunity for a judge or court to misinterpret or simply overrule your unofficial wishes.
What You Need to Do Now
Regardless of the reason for delaying your estate plan, your next step is to reach out to the attorney you had been working with or find a qualified estate attorney to take over your plans. You can research reputable estate planning attorneys on EstatePlanning.com. If you’re in the Hampton Roads or Northeastern North Carolina region, contact Davis Law Group. We can help you complete the process and check this off your to-do list so you can put your mind to rest about it. We can meet with you in person or virtually at your convenience. Whether you have an unfinished plan or need to start from scratch – reach out to us today.