Estate planning, which can range from a non-complex Will or trust to sophisticated asset protection and dynasty planning and Powers of Attorney for Property and for Personal Care, is a subject that many of us avoid thinking about let alone discussing. More people than I would have thought hold the belief that talking about death hastens its arrival and/or that their loved one wants to see them six feet under if they raise the topic of planning for their death. So, why waste your time with it? Planning for death is poppycock! Right? Who needs to have a plan for something you know is going to happen and may be pretty traumatic for your family. I am here to tell you, you do not have to worry about it at all. If any of the statements below apply to you, you needn’t bother with estate planning.
Reason #1 why you should NOT have an estate plan
YOU ARE IMMORTAL –You are a Vlad the Impaler or Connor McCloud from the Clan McCloud. Immortals never have to worry about the tedious chore of estate planning because they are never going to die. But, hey even the most likeable vampire may find himself or herself being invited to a dawn meeting for a cup of the nectar of life. The Connor McClouds of the world need to keep an eye out for the next sword wielding leather-clad hooligan looking to take his head. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!
Reason #2 why you should NOT have an estate plan
YOU ARE TELEPATHIC: Planning is utter ridiculousness because your family knows what to do when you die. Despite never broaching the topics of who you want to have your possessions, your money, what you want done with your body, and who should be in charge of handling these matters, your family knows who you want to get what and in what amounts because through the process of osmosis or telepathy you have told them these things. Your family would not benefit from and therefore has no need to be provided for in an organized and thoughtful manner. You are gone anyway -so, why worry about putting your wishes in writing and providing directions for the efficient and reasonable distribution of your assets? Let those left behind worry about it and, better yet, fight over your estate. Nothing brings the family together like a fight over money!
Reason #3 why you should NOT have an estate plan
UNCLE SAM HAS GOT YOUR BACK: Your good old Uncle Sam is going to take care of things for you. You trust that the government and the legislation enacted by all those politicians reaching across the aisle, will take care of everything for you, if the sun catches you at day break or that leather clad hooligan takes your head. You heard that there are laws in place in every state that dictate how your assets are distributed upon your death. There is no need to create an estate plan because you are happy with whatever the default rules say even if it may result in assets being distributed to individuals that you do not want sharing in your estate or allocate assets to individuals who will suffer some disadvantage from an inheritance (such as a disabled child).
Reason #4 why you should NOT have an estate plan
YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A TORRID LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE IRS: The depth of your love for the IRS knows no bounds! You love taxes and fees and want to pass these on to your family. The IRS is much more deserving of your hard-earned money than your spouse and children. It is not important to you to have a thoughtful estate plan that allows you to minimize taxes and fees for the benefit of those you love because the IRS is the yin to your yang. Having a game plan for what happens upon your death, will most often result in the efficient distribution of your assets, which can save your estate and loved ones time, taxes and fees. Estate planning can simplify the administration of your estate by designating executors or trustees and provide more certainty as to the distribution of assets, which will generally lead to lower legal fees. But hey, you’re gone … and you are happy to continue to provide for your mistress – the IRS –in the manner to which she has become accustomed: taxes and fees. So, why would you care about reducing these for your family?
Reason #5 why you should NOT have an estate plan
YOU ARE IMMUNE TO ILLNESS: Since you are immortal, you never have to worry about disease or illness striking. Who ever heard of Vlad the Impaler or Connor McCloud from the clan McCloud catching a cold let alone suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s? As an immortal, you are also impervious to serious injury that might be caused by an accident. You will never have a period in your life when you are unable to manage your own affairs so there is no need to appoint an agent under a power of attorney, designate someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you can not make them for yourself, or plan for the possible need for a guardian. Estate planning is more than just what happens to your “stuff” and money when you die. It is just as much about disability planning as it is about death planning. Well, you are immortal and thus immune to sickness and tragedy, so no need to bother planning.
There are many reasons NOT to have an estate plan, but significantly MORE reasons to plan your estate properly and have a comprehensive plan that not only deals with the disposition of assets via a Will or trust but also takes into account disability planning with Powers of Attorney for financial and healthcare decision making authority.