Did you know that recent studies reveal  less than 30% of Americans have an estate plan? This is actually an alarming statistic because of the critical importance of estate planning in securing financial stability and peace of mind for yourself and your family. We want to address and understand the barriers that keep people from creating estate plans.  We want to explore the reasons and offer solutions to help you, and all of our clients, prepare for the future effectively. In addition, we want to address another issue and that is failing to update your estate plan. How long has it been since you created your estate plan? Is it a Florida estate plan, have there been changes in your residence, your family, your income or your health. All these issues can impact the quality of your estate plan. 

As we begin there is one major misconception that needs to be addressed first, it is that Florida estate planning is only for the wealthy. Unfortunately studies show this idea that estate planning is only for the rich is still persistent. Because they have few assets, many individuals believe any estate planning, such as drafting last will and testaments or creating trust agreements, are unnecessary. We want to put that misconception to rest by stating that estate planning is crucial for everyone, regardless of wealth. Your Florida estate plan will ensure that your assets, no matter their size or amount, are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are cared for in your absence.

What is even more important about you estate plan is that it makes sure that your person is protected. What does that mean? With your Florida estate plan you will be able to make sure there is someone of your choosing who can make your decisions in a crisis. Through your estate planning, you can select trusted future decision makers who would have the legal authority to act on your behalf in a crisis for both healthcare and financial decisions. With the help of your experienced Florida estate planning attorney, you can even select a trusted second or third decision maker in important estate tools such as the durable power of attorney.

It is understandable that discussing or even thinking about death is uncomfortable. This desire to avoid or put off the inevitability of death may be deeply rooted in fear including fear of the unknown, fear of leaving loved ones behind, or simply fear of the finality it represents. This emotional barrier should not be taken lightly, and it can definitely be a significant deterrent when it comes to estate planning. Often people find themselves setting the task aside, thinking there will always be more time, or that it is too early to worry about such matters. However, this unfortunate delay can lead to unnecessary complications and stress for family members in the future.

Do you know what estate planning entails or its benefits? If you do not, you are not alone, a surprising number of people do not know. That being said, this lack of awareness then prevents individuals from taking the necessary steps to protect their assets and their family’s future. To address this challenge, it is important that the message gets out to know the benefits of early planning. Florida estate planning is not just about distributing assets; it is a comprehensive process that involves making decisions on guardianship for minors, care for pets, and instructions for personal care in case of incapacitation. When the focus is on these aspects, the process becomes less about death and more about the care and protection of oneself and loved ones. This new perspective can ease the mental burden and make the task seem more manageable and immediate.

Finally, there are many reasons Americans neglect estate planning, but they can be addressed through targeted education, simplifying the process, making services more accessible, and changing the narrative around estate planning. By overcoming these barriers, we can significantly increase the percentage of Americans who are prepared for the future, ensuring that their wishes are respected and their loved ones are protected.  If you do have an estate plan we cannot recommend highly enough that you update it frequently. 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. At Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services.  By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.