Procrastination or putting off unpleasant tasks is a common human trait. Even the most diligent and hard-working of people may procrastinate in one area of their life or another.
Creating an estate plan or last will definitely falls into the “unpleasant tasks” category for many adults. Thinking about your own eventual death is not something that many people enjoy doing.
Unfortunately, as with other areas of life, procrastination when it comes to estate planning can have a host of unintended, negative consequences.
No one knows what the future holds
If you are young and healthy, talking about your death or future medical incapacitation can seem unnecessary and morbid. You might think that only those who are getting closer to the end of the average life expectancy for an American adult, such as those in their fifties and sixties, really need to work on their last will or estate plan.
However, if you have significant assets or family members that depend on you, creating a last will now protects them in the event that something tragic, like a stroke or a car crash, claims your life or leaves you unable to express your own wishes.
If you die without a last will, the Colorado courts will distribute your assets according to the law rather than your wishes, which could be unfortunate if you aren’t married to your partner or don’t want your assets going to your immediate family.
Delayed planning can reduce the benefits that you stand to gain
Comprehensive estate planning doesn’t just involve the creation of a last will. It also involves writing out a living will in case you wind up injured or sickened and unable to speak for yourself. It also often involves planning to protect your assets as you age and also taking steps to ensure that you qualify for critical benefits, like Medicaid, if you need them.
With asset protection planning and Medicaid planning, the sooner you complete the process, the less likely you are to have to worry about financial penalties for you or your heirs. Instead of delaying the planning process until you absolutely need to handle it, taking steps to record your wishes now and updating your estate plan as circumstances change may be a better approach.