Four Reasons Why Americans Avoid Preparing a Will
1. A Will is Costly
In many cases, a carefully prepared Will does have some attendant costs. This is especially true where complicated or large estates are involved. However, a few hundred dollars pale in compatison to the cost of having no Will at all. Without a Will, an estate can face the maximum in applicable probate costs and taxes. In the event of any family disagreement over distribution, legal costs skyrocket. By the time a settlement occurs, hundreds or even thousands of dollars may have been lost. In some cases, heirs can actually end up bearing the brunt of out of pocket costs. Ultimately, having a Will could actually save you and your family money.
2. Distaste for Legal Documents
Many Americans seem to have a built-in distaste, or even distrust, for legal documents. They tend to be long, difficult to understands, etc. A Will is easily understood, however, when compared to the legal intricacies that an estate without a Will may experience. Attorneys will gladly provide an easy to understand summary of the contents of a Will to ensure that your objectives are met.
3. Too Little Property to Merit a Will
It’s easy for many Americans to look around and feel their estate is small and doesn’t warrant the time and expense of a Will. After all, the headlines always highlight multimillion dollar estates. The truth is that every day, many people die posessing much more than they realize. What may be a modest home today, a small investment portfolio, or just the beginning of a savings account can enjoy significant growth in value before death. Where no Will exists, the state will step in and determine distribution.
4. Life Gets in the Way
Finally, it’s completely possible that the single biggest reason Americans fail to prepare a Will falls into the “life just gets in the way” category. For some, it’s simply the day-to-day routine that prohibits them from considering a Will. For others, it’s the reality that no one plans to die, or certainly, no one enjoys planning to die. For another group, it may be rationalized under the “no one can know the future” reason, thinking that so much could change between today and the time of death. What good could it do to plan today? While almost all of the reasons for procrastinating are understandable, none will serve to lessen the reality that the absence of a Will can have a devastating impact on an estate.
We are here to help. If you would like more information on Wills, including sample language for making a charitable bequest, please call 732-922-9802 x2128 or send an e-mail to RRoe@UMCommunities.org.