1. Planning For My Death Will Hasten My Death
Many times, while discussing estate planning with clients, I have encountered hesitation from clients due to the very real fear that preparing for death can bring about death. Surprisingly, this is a very real fear experienced by many people. I have had clients become nervous about signing their documents because of this fear.
Knowing that this is an “Old Wives Tale” does not alleviate those fears that people have, whether rational or not. This fear seems to be that preparation for death is like inviting death into the home. I have had clients admit that they know that such fears are irrational, but they have them just the same. While I suspect that some folks use this “fear” as an excuse to procrastinate about doing to the work necessary to set up a living trust or other estate plan, this “fear” must be confronted.
My advice has always been, putting affairs in order brings peace of mind and reduces stress. This usually leads to a longer, rather than shorter, life. Reducing stress is a healthy thing to do. At the end of the process, I have never had a client say they were sorry they completed their plan. It universally brings them a sense of relief and accomplishment.
They know they have done the best to protect their family. The stress that comes with knowing you have a task to accomplish that you are reluctant to do disappears when it is done. I have heard it expressed that it was like removing a weight from their shoulders.
The truth is that planning your estate is more likely to extend your life rather than shorten it.
2. I worry that a Living Trust will make my life more difficult
The truth is that there is no difference. While, setting up the trust and transferring assets initially is difficult, once done, it is done. Once the trust is in effect, buying and selling assets is no different other than the wording of title. There is no additional effort or inconvenience.
I have tried very hard to come up with some inconvenience caused by having a Living Trust. There was a time when trusts were so rare that some bankers and store clerks would balk at their use. No more! Today they are so common that such an occurrence is virtually unheard of. When refinancing real estate, you might have to do an extra deed returning your property to your trust. That’s all I can think of. That’s not much of a difficulty. A trust is not going to change your life, other than give you a great deal of peace of mind.
3. I am worried that my spouse will not have full use and control of our property after my death.
The truth is that having a Living Trust is the best way to be sure your spouse will have full control of all assets after your death.
If you have no estate plan, the probate court will divide up your estate according to the laws of your state. Many states include a distribution to children as part of their distribution requirements. This could strip your spouse of as much as half to two-thirds of the family estate.
A will is not much better as you have courts and lawyers involved. The court can remove or regulate the spouse’s control. Major decisions will require the court’s involvement. Step children and other disgruntled heirs can make life difficult for your spouse.
Resolve all these fears with a Living Trust
Find that peace of mind that comes with overcoming procrastination and fear. Take that first step today in creating your Living Trust. Then you can go about life knowing your estate and family are secure.