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Helping People Age with Dignity

Estate planning doesn’t have to be focused on death

One of the areas in which procrastination can strike is in estate planning. One thing that may lead people to drag their feet on estate planning is an assumption that the process will be very death-focused. Death is a topic many people don’t like to think about, so the thought of going through a death-focused process can be an unappealing one.

So, an important thing for people to know is that, while many aspects of an estate plan do deal with what will happen after one passes away, this doesn’t mean the process has to be focused on death. Rather, it can be focused on what is important in a person’s life. For one, it can be focused on family.

There are a great many family-related goals a person can incorporate into an estate plan, including:

  • Reducing the burden that will be on their family after they pass away.
  • Preventing matters related to their death from leading to fights within their family.
  • Providing continued support to their family.
  • Passing on lessons and their legacy to family.

So, a person putting off estate planning could also mean putting off having important protections in place for their family or other parts of their life that mean a lot to them. So, thinking of estate planning as something focused on what’s important to them, rather than being about death, might be one of the things that could help a person get over the temptation to procrastinate when it comes to such planning.

Now, when it comes to the goal of protecting what matters to them, such as family, whether or not one has an estate plan is not the only thing that can be impactful. So too can what is ultimately put into the plan. So, it can be very important for a person to know what specifically they can do to promote their particular goals in the various things an estate plan can include, such as wills, trusts, beneficiary designations, advanced directives and funeral-related documents. Estate planning lawyers can help individuals with incorporating what matters to them into their estate plan.

Source: Kiplinger, “A Will Can Be a Beautiful Thing,” Marguerita M. Cheng, April 2017

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