In the exciting lead-up to Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 17 to 21 – mark your calendars!), a survey was released sharing findings that fewer than one-third of Americans have even basic estate plans in place. This was shocking. Granted, as an estate planning attorney, my definition of exciting may differ from yours, but I think we can all be surprised by how few of us have estate plans.
The survey results come at the same time when I am expanding my estate planning practice. I thoroughly enjoy my estate planning work, and the survey shows that the need for estate plans is an area that can put my legal skills to work to meet a need for all segments of society and create a positive impact. Thankfully not everyone wants or requires traditional family law services (divorce, child custody, and the like), but everyone –and I mean everyone – needs an estate plan.
The survey identified six reasons Americans do not yet have estate plans. In this post, I will start from the bottom of that list: 11% of those surveyed say that the reason for not having an estate plan was that they were uncomfortable discussing death or money. I am surprised that only 11% of respondents cited this reason. Many of us are uncomfortable talking about money, and even fewer want to talk about death. Unless you are a zombie, death is not a fun or sexy topic.
Some take the view of estate planning as the adage “plan for the worst, hope for the best.” I am all about planning – my color-coded calendar is the envy of all who see it – and a good plan helps avoid many problems and difficulties. I do not like the mindset of planning for the worst. I challenge you to rethink estate planning, or anything related to death or money, as planning for the best. Life is short, and we are all going to die. Nobody is happy about that, but we can make the best of our lives and not just hope for the best but plan for the best.
If you live in Utah and do not have an estate plan, get in touch with me. I work with my clients on a flat fee basis and try to make the estate planning process as simple, easy, and occasionally fun as possible. I look forward to working with you on your plan for the best.