Many people have a tendency toward procrastination, and when you do put things off they are usually going to be things that you would prefer not to do. There is no denying the fact that considering the end of your life and possible disability or incapacitation leading up to your death is not the most pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Some people don’t want to “go there” until they absolutely have to, and they may put off creating an estate plan for just that reason.
The financial ramifications of this procrastination/denial syndrome can be profound. For example, the estate tax exemption amount is going down to just $1 million in 2011 unless there is some last minute change to the law. You may have been told years ago that your total assets will fall within the exclusion amount when it stood at $2 million, but that may not be the case now. If you keep your head in the sand, you may never become aware of changes such as these, and it can cost your heirs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The comprehensive modern estate plan also includes a health care component. It is important to let your wishes be known in terms of which medical procedures you would approve of and deny in the event of your incapacitation via the execution of a living will. It is also advisable to name someone who you would like to empower to make medical decisions for you if you were ever in a position where you were unable to make them for yourself via a health care proxy.
These are just a couple of things to consider, but the best way to meet the propensity toward procrastination head on is to think about your loved ones. After all, planning your estate has everything to do with your family, and if you don’t have a plan in place it will be up to them to sort things out, making a very difficult time in their lives that much harder to handle.