4 Bad Reasons to Delay Estate Planning

Creating an estate plan involves contemplating some uncomfortable topics, such as one’s death or incapacity. It’s understandable that many people may not want to address these topics, but most of us know that we have to at some point. Unfortunately, we often hear the same few reasons why someone has delayed their estate planning, and usually these reasons are not very good. Let’s address a few of the most common ones.

I Don’t Have Enough Assets

Creating an estate plan does involve making decisions about where your assets will go when you pass away. However, the value of your assets shouldn’t be a reason to avoid delaying this process, especially when considering the need to create a plan that is halachically valid. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, halacha requires that a man’s assets pass to his sons, and a woman’s to her husband or sons. The only way to avoid this outcome while still distributing your property in accordance with halacha is to create a detailed halachic estate plan that lays out your wishes in this regard.

In addition, estate planning isn’t just about your assets. A comprehensive estate plan should also plan for incapacity by naming certain powers of attorney who can act on your behalf in certain situations.  In the event of temporary incapacity or hospitalization, a person you give powers of attorney can manage your finances for you to help avoid a financial mess. They can also make medical decisions on your behalf, helping to make certain that you receive efficient and effective treatment. These documents will also ensure that your healthcare and post mortem care are managed in accordance with your religious requirements.

It’s Too Expensive

Creating an estate plan may be expensive for some folks, but there are benefits far beyond what you would traditionally think.  By creating an estate plan, you can help minimize the family disputes that may arise over your estate.  

Without a plan in place, there will be no direction for your heirs.  No one will know what assets in particular they are getting, if any.  This can lead to fighting and resentment amongst your family members.  If these disputes make their way to court, the litigation process can drastically deplete the assets in your estate.  Your heirs could end up using certain assets as leverage to get more out of your other heirs, and otherwise lead to an unnecessary mess.

By spending the time and money to create an estate plan, you can be sure that there is direction for your assets and that your heirs’ particular inheritances will be predetermined, minimizing the chances for familial turmoil.  An estate plan can also decrease the likelihood of an estate dispute, helping to preserve your estate’s money.

I’m Too Young

A comprehensive estate plan should not just direct your assets upon passing; it should also include documents that can allow a trusted person to manage your affairs in the event of incapacity or unavailability.  A durable power of attorney for finances allows a named person to manage your finances for you in the event you are unable to.  This person can pay your mortgage, insurance premiums, cash checks for you, or handle any other financial tasks that you would need to have done.  A durable power of attorney for health care names a trusted person to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.  

An estate plan should also include a living will which allows you to name personal preferences for medical treatment.  This document would then be referenced in the event you were unable to make these decisions for yourself.  In a living will, you can state any religious restrictions that you have with regards to medical treatment.  Your living will can also name a trusted rabbi or organization to contact should any question arise as to whether a proposed medical treatment is acceptable.

By stating these preferences ahead of time, you can be sure that the treatment you receive while incapacitated aligns with your religious beliefs.  Without these documents in place, your doctors would be left without any guidance as to how you want to be treated, especially in an emergency situation where your family may not be around to provide guidance.  

I Don’t Want to Think About It

Death is a daunting prospect.  No one wants to think about what will happen once they are gone, but unfortunately that does not stop the inevitable. Putting off this process accomplishes nothing more than creating potential future problems for you and your family. Remember, creating an estate plan is about more than just you. It’s designed to prepare your family to handle medical emergencies and ultimately deal with the transition of your assets after you pass in an easy and straightforward manner that avoids any family fighting or turmoil.  

As uncomfortable as this task may seem, both you and your heirs will be grateful that you got it done, and you’ll likely be surprised by just how easy the process was once you get started.  

How Can Rosenblum Law Help?

At Rosenblum Law, we have extensive experience helping the Jewish community achieve their estate planning goals.  While there are some reasons why people may procrastinate, we urge you to begin this process sooner rather than later. It’s beneficial and simpler than you might imagine.  To learn more, or to schedule a free consultation, call Rosenblum Law at 888-235-9021.

Rabbi Adam (Chananya) Rosenblum, Esq. is the founding attorney and principal of Rosenblum Law, which has provided over two decades of legal service to the community at large.

In addition to serving as principal of Rosenblum Law, he is involved in a number of volunteer and charitable endeavors,  including mentorship, giving weekly Torah classes and running educational trips for Jewish outreach organizations. 

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