Broker Check
Procrastination Is The Biggest Barrier To Estate Planning

Procrastination Is The Biggest Barrier To Estate Planning

November 07, 2023

The pandemic raised awareness about the importance of having a will, living trust, and
other end-of-life documents. Still, only one in three American adults actually have a will or
living trust
1. According to the Caring.com 2022 survey, the top reasons people gave for not
tackling estate planning were:


ƒ “I haven’t gotten around to it.” (40%)
ƒ “I don’t have enough assets to leave to anyone.” (33%)


If you’re among the two-thirds of Americans who haven’t created an estate plan, you
might want to get started now. Even if you don’t think you have enough assets to leave
to anyone, you’ll gain peace of mind by completing a last will and testament – as well
as a living will stipulating what your end-of-life or care preferences are if you become
incapacitated. Also, if you die “intestate” (without a will), a good share of your assets will
be spent on attorney and court fees associated with probate.


A checklist for estate planning
By following this estate-planning checklist, you can rest easier, knowing that if you die or
become incapacitated, your final wishes will be known.

ƒ Create an inventory of your tangible and intangible assets. This should include
vehicles, real estate, financial accounts and investments, health savings accounts,
life insurance policies, business ownerships, retirement plans, collectibles, and more.
Include the estimated worth of each item. Also, list any outstanding liabilities, such as
mortgages, lines of credit or other debts that you haven’t paid off yet. This will help the
executor of your estate to notify any creditors in the event of your death.
ƒ Plan for your loved ones’ needs. This includes writing a will if you don’t already have
one. (There are online options for creating a will, if needed.) When you write your will,
name a guardian for your children, as well as a backup guardian. Determine if you need
life insurance—and how much.
ƒ Clarify your legal directives. Executors, trusts, financial power of attorney, and medical
care directives are important parts of estate planning. An executor is the person, bank,
or trust company named in the will to carry out your wishes and settle the estate. A trust
designates where portions of your estate go, eliminating the need for probate. A financial
power of attorney designates someone to manage your finances if you become medically

unable to carry out those duties yourself. A medical care directive—or living will—details
your medical preferences if you become unable to make those decisions. You may
want to designate someone to make medical-related decisions for you (if you become
incapacitated) by giving them a medical power of attorney. You may benefit from having
different people representing your medical and financial interests to avoid potential
conflicts of interest, as well as a backup for each.
ƒ Review your beneficiaries. Don’t leave beneficiary sections blank in your paperwork—
including retirement plans and insurance products. Check older documents and/
or accounts to see if your beneficiaries need to be updated. Also, name contingent
beneficiaries in case a primary beneficiary dies before you do.
ƒ Regularly reassess your estate plan. Circumstances change, whether it’s marriage,
divorce, a growing family, the death of a loved one, tax laws, or financial situations.
Updating your estate plan may take some time, but will be worth it.
ƒ Consider whether you should hire a professional. Will-writing options are available
online and through software programs, and may be a good choice for those with smaller
estates and uncomplicated plans. They generally account for IRS and state-specific
requirements, and use an interview process to walk you through the steps. Make sure
you do some research first to ensure they comply with federal and state laws. If you
need more peace of mind than a software program can provide, you may benefit from
consulting with an estate attorney, who may also recommend a tax advisor.


Start your estate planning sooner, rather than later
If you’ve postponed your estate planning because you’re young or don’t have much for
someone to inherit, consider how difficult it may be for your survivors to go through
probate, which is an expensive, time-consuming, and intrusive process. You may not have
the assets and potential heirs of billionaire Howard Hughes, but he died without a will and
it took more than 34 years to settle his estate
2. For more incentives to write a will, read the
Forbes article
“Horror Stories: When You Die Without A Will.”

Important Disclosures

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views
or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.
This material was prepared by LPL Financial.
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products
are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor that is not an
LPL Financial affiliate, please note LPL Financial makes no representation with respect to such entity.

Not Insured by FDIC/NCUA or Any
Other Government Agency
Not Bank/Credit Union
Guaranteed
Not Bank/Credit Union Deposits
or Obligations
May Lose Value