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The most common reasons people fail to make an estate plan

If you have an estate plan, you are in the minority. Most people across the country, including many here in New Hampshire, don't have one. If you fall into this category, you risk letting the state decide what happens to your assets after you die.

There is another significant risk if you have not created an estate plan. If you become unable to make decisions for yourself regarding your health care or finances due to an injury or illness, your family will need to go to court in order to help you through this rough time -- even if it's temporary.

Why would you delay estate planning?

More than likely, you identify with one or more of the following common reasons for not engaging in estate planning:

  • Your family dynamics may be complicated. You may hesitate to figure out how to make sure everyone is happy with your decisions, but you are the one who decides what happens. You may wish to explain why you are making certain choices so no one is surprised when the time comes.
  • No one wants to contemplate his or her own death, so it probably won't surprise you that this is a common reason why people fail to complete estate planning.
  • Some people think that estate planning makes them give up control of their assets. That is not the case. Many strategies allow you to retain control and decision-making authority over your assets.
  • You may look at the potential cost of estate planning and postpone that expense. There are some up-front costs, but it often turns out less expensive than it would be for family members to go through the court in order to take care of you or to finalize your estate upon death.

Some people don't think they should have to go to an attorney for an estate plan, but undertaking this task on their own usually ends up doing more harm than good. Failing to include the appropriate language, not executing the documents in accordance with the law and other problems can lead to surviving family members dealing with a mess later.

The last thing you and your family need is for the court to reject or invalidate any documents you create on your own when needed. For this reason, you would more than likely benefit from experienced advice and assistance to create an estate plan that gives you and your family peace of mind. An attorney can review your situation and offer you options for your estate plan that you may not have considered otherwise.

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