Why So Many Don’t Estate Plan & The Consequences
The italicized text immediately below this paragraph was extracted verbatim from the message section of the sign up form on our Kubler Financial website. This form was recently completed anonymously though, as you’ll see, the author is one of the estate owner’s three adult children; written by him or her in first-person on behalf of the father. (The name and phone number of the father have been removed.)
Written By A Thoughtful Adult Child:
“(This request is being sent by 1 of 3 of my adult children. I have no knowledge of this request.) I am 75 yrs old, remarried, own and run a real estate property management company, have considerable real estate holdings and have started a trust but have stagnated due to my stubbornness. Although I have stated I want my estate to pass to my children and grandchildren I am a horrible procrastinator. My heirs are concerned that their cost to handle probate will be financially overwhelming and crippling. Please help me protect my estate and not cause a burden to my rightful heirs! (Written by a very concerned child)”
For the most part, the things that were written and the thoughts behind them are astute. The concerns themselves are unquestionably all valid. Clearly, the author has a good general understanding of the importance to maximize and plan the family estate and why avoiding the expensive effects of mishandling or neglect are desired and so necessary.
The words “stubbornness” and “procrastination” were used (and probably accurate at some level) but our experience has found it to be more of an almost unconscious “avoidance”, often fear-based, that appears as though it’s being “put off” or someone just being “hardheaded.” It’s usually a bit deeper than that.
The heirs probably wouldn’t be entirely crippled financially, but without timely and proper planning they probably will be heavily burdened and the estate’s holdings themselves could easily become decimated.
People do want to maximize and properly plan their estates. Deep down they really do. But they rarely have the necessary strong, forward thinking conscious thoughts or take the entire picture and the potentially bad results associated with not taking care of this.
There’s usually a more subliminal and subconscious dynamic at play regarding this. At various places in our lives, we all need to become amateur psychologists to understand what’s really occurring regarding things that should be of high value to us. Here are some of them…
Some Of The “Why’s” (Sometimes Fear-Based) People Are Reluctant:
- No benefit for estate owner (not true)
- No benefit to anyone as long as estate holder is alive (not true)
- Turned off by thoughts that others will personally benefit from the estate holder’s death is upsetting (resolvable)
- An intense fear of one’s own death (resolvable)
- Some fear death to such a degree that they’re unwilling to ever talk about it so never plan for it (resolvable)
- Some may believe it’s like willing or even causing death to happen (not likely)
- Still feel good, young and healthy (the best time to handle this)
- Waste of money (not true)
Naturally, these types of psychological obstacles pale in importance when compared to results caused by avoidance or oversight. But we are complicated human beings. Recognizing and overcoming mental blocks are a part of life. Preventing and protecting against disastrous effects of a lifetime of earning can provide more than enough incentive if allowed to. There’s really nothing overwhelming about it. Getting past any blocks and taking a step is usually the hardest part.
Self Examination: We strongly suggest to people that they take an honest inventory and a review of their own minds and emotions. These must be considered, overcome eventually with right actions taken or decimation of a significant portion of the asset base is almost guaranteed. Yes, strong statement, but it is true.
It’s never too early to start talking about “what if’s” and planning for what the future may hold. This is one of the most important and possibly one of the most awkward and difficult decisions parents and children can have with each other. Naturally, that makes it too easy to put off. Don’t allow yourself and your wealth to be trapped by that.
Even if raised as a legitimate and important subject, a parent may become suspicious or fear greedy motives of others. The types and qualities of relationships within the family determines much about how that would unfold. View this as a chance to “grow” as a family.
Be very thoughtful. It can be a sensitive subject and the estate holder’s mind may draw unintended, and (often) entirely false, conclusions.
Even if it may be difficult, you still can’t allow family dynamics to ignore or delay this matter until it’s too late. Waiting until the “last minute” is not a good strategy and will be an extremely expensive and regrettable mistake.
WHAT WILL LIKELY HAPPEN IF NOT ADDRESSED
You might be surprised at the high percentage of wealthy individuals who don’t properly maximize or even attempt to mentally “plan” their estate. Don’t find comfort in the mistakes of others. Worse, “intestate” – is a fancy way of saying that someone has passed away without a legally enforceable will in place. If a person passes away without properly maximizing and protecting their estate, chances are probate court, attorneys and Uncle Sam will take a great deal (possibly most) of what is left behind.
Another of the most frequent and surprising reasons for estate planning failures is when estate owners have a plan but do not fully implement it. It’s known as a “failure to execute” when assets are not properly transferred to trusts, other appropriate financial vehicles or when planned gifts are not made.
BENEFITS OF GETTING YOUR ESTATE MAXIMIZATION AND PLANNING DONE
Are avoiding probate and keeping the estate as intact as possible priorities for you? If the estate is large enough, there may be estate taxes due and payable within nine months of death. There are methods and vehicles available that help legally minimize or eliminate estate taxes. NOTE: Only planning in advance can help maximize the estate in this way.
The personal sense of satisfaction is much greater than people usually anticipate. It’s inherent within human beings to feel better when handling business properly with the element of someday “giving” it incredibly liberating and fulfilling while still here.
It also demonstrates an unselfish concern for others and is a responsible and businesslike manner of behavior.
Once done, everyone will feel better. We’ve seen families grow closer together as a result of handling this matter properly.
There’s a usually unexpected and strong benefit of relief, knowing where and to who the property will go to based on the decisions the estate owner made…
Whether you speak with us or to someone else about protecting your family assets, please make it a priority that your estate be maximized and planned for before too long, or before it’s too late.
While of sound mind…
I will help you maximize and plan your estate to keep your wealth and peace of mind for you and for your family…
P.S. The time you spend with me will be rewarded with ideas and perspectives that will help enable you and your family to preserve its wealth long into the future. After all, they’re your assets. You worked hard and deserve to keep them in your family!
To expand the bottom line value of your estate and also dictate where your assets go, you want Estate Maximization and Planning…
We don’t circumvent and we work well with in-place legal, accounting and all other advisor team members whenever requested or otherwise professionally and ethically appropriate.