There are surveys conducted periodically that are intended to measure estate planning preparedness. What they tend to prove is how unprepared we are as a society.
As you may imagine, older people are more likely to have an estate plan in place than younger adults. However, a significant percentage of people who are over 50 have not executed all of the estate planning documents that are recommended.
Why do so many people fail to plan ahead for something that is absolutely going to happen to each and every one of us? This is a question that different individuals would answer in different ways. Many people know that they should plan ahead, but they simply procrastinate. They intend to take care of it at a later date.
When you think this way, where does it all end? Eventually you must take action or you will never do so.
Perhaps ironically, incapacity planning is part of a comprehensive plan for the future because it is common among seniors. There are those who procrastinate until they become incapable of executing estate planning documents because they are no longer of sound mind.
We would like to suggest that you use the occasion of the new year as motivation to put the procrastination behind you if you are going through life without an estate plan. People tend to resolve to take care of things that they had been putting off when a new year rolls around. Make this the year that you put a plan in place for the benefit of your family.
Estate Plan Revisions
Estate planning should be viewed as a process that is ongoing. If you put an estate plan in place after you had your first child at the age of 25, it is probably not going to reflect your current wishes if you are now 50 years old. Things change over the years, and as they do, your estate plan may need to change along with them.
Things like additions and subtractions to the family and changes in marital status are going to trigger the need for estate plan updates. Changes in your financial status could be relevant as well.
In addition to the things that take place within your own life and your own family, there are also societal changes that can render your existing estate plan in need of an update.
For example, tax laws are subject to change. Market conditions are always fluctuating. Some estate planning techniques are especially useful when interest rates are low. You have to be prepared to react to ever-changing circumstances if you want your estate plan to serve the best interests of your family every step of the way.
If you have not reviewed your estate plan in a while, consult with an estate planning attorney in 2014 to schedule a thorough review.