Write a will? How to stop stalling and get there
You know you should have a will, but you keep stalling. No one likes to think about dying or someone else raising their children. But if you don’t go beyond jotting down notes or figuring out which lawyer to hire, you risk dying “intestate” – without a will that could guide loved ones, avoid family feuds, and potentially save thousands of dollars. to your family.
Financial planners say it can be difficult to get people to stop procrastinating on this important chore of money. I’ve asked several advisors to come up with their best strategies for getting clients to achieve this. Maybe one of them will help you.
Remember who you do it for
Los Angeles Certified Financial Planner Katrina Soelter suggests thinking about a estate plan as “the best love letter you can write to those you love”. Providing advice on what you want to happen after your death – and who you want to care for underage children or pets – can be a huge gift for those you leave behind. You also save them the potentially significant costs and delays of hiring lawyers to settle your estate later.
Soelter says she has procrastinated on her own estate planning and finds that the positive approach works better than bullying.
“It doesn’t help to shame them, but rather to focus on why it’s wonderful to do it,” says Soelter.
See what happens without a will
Again, some people need to hear the worst case scenarios before they act. Financial planners often point out, for example, that without an estate plan, a court could end up deciding who will look after your children. State law determines who inherits your business, and the distribution may not be as you would expect.
PSC Janice Cackowski of Rocky River, Ohio, says one of her clients recently passed away after ignoring her advice to create a trust. His will bequeathed his estate to his financially irresponsible son, without any restrictions.
“The money my client saved over his 63 years of life will be gone within 18 months of his death,” Cackowski said.
Keep it simple
CFP Kevin Gahagan of San Francisco notes that setting up a basic estate plan may not be as complicated or expensive as you might think.
“The lawyer does the job,” says Gahagan. “They will guide you in identifying the questions you need to answer so that a plan can be developed. “
Also think about what you would like to happen if you die in the next five years, rather than trying to create an estate plan that covers all eventualities, says PSC Karen E. Van Voorhis of Norwell, Massachusetts. . You can always update and change things.
Using social benefits
Many large companies offer their employees access to lawyers through prepaid legal services, says PSC Amy Shepard of Mesa, Arizona. This is how she and her husband, Michael, created their estate plan. They met with an attorney affiliated with the service, who was costing less than $ 10 per bi-weekly pay period when employed by Wells Fargo.
“For most people, the most important thing stopping them is money,” Shepard says. “If their employer offers a legal advantage, it can make the process of developing an estate plan very affordable and very straightforward.
Since lawyers often charge $ 300 or more for a willWhile a living trust can cost $ 1,200 or more, prepaid legal services can be a cost effective option for many people, Shepard says.
Affordable options for those not covered by their employer may include online services such as Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom, which are better suited for people facing simple situations, such as those who do not have a lot of assets and who don’t. need trusts, Shepard says. But users must carefully answer the sites’ questions and get the resulting documents notarized, or the documents will not be valid.
Define a timeline
Van Voorhis also suggests making an appointment with a lawyer now, but scheduling it in a few months.
“That way it’s on the books and they’ll feel like they’ve accomplished something, but they also won’t have to face it for a while,” she says.
Minneapolis CFP Mike Giefer recommends progressive deadlines.
“By October 1, discuss guardians, charities and other estate intentions. Before November 1, set up the first meeting with an estate planning lawyer. Before December 1, clarify and confirm the documents and have them signed before the holidays, ”suggests Giefer. “January 1, 2020, it’s over!
This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.