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The Impediments to Proper Estate Planning

Signs of anxietyEstate planning requires clients to prepare for a future they won't be here to see. That idea can be disconcerting, so it's no surprise that advisors say the largest obstacles to successful estate planning revolve around clients' anxieties about what the world will be like without them. Those fears can lead to procrastination, indecision and inattention. "The first barrier we run into is people ignoring doing estate planning at all," says advisor Stewart Welch, founder of the Welch Group in Birmingham, Ala. "They don't have a will, or it's 15 years old – they just don't do anything."

According to an article on financial-planning.com, “3 Biggest Barriers to Successful Estate Planning,” there are major obstacles that some folks face when they think about estate planning. I can sum it up in two words: “Get Going!” Talk to your estate planning attorney now—don’t put it off.

1. Procrastination. Fear is a major contributor to procrastination. You know, dealing with your own mortality… who likes to think about that? We’re always too busy, and there’s always something better to do, like clean the garage or organize your sock drawer. It’s easier to let that fear of our mortality grow than to face it.

2. Indecision. Some folks put off doing anything because they are riddled with indecision. There are too many decisions to make, so it’s easier to not make any. Sometimes people get hung up on selecting a guardian for their minor children. Because they can’t choose one, they don’t do anything else in their estate planning. Another example is the person who is so worried about giving money to her kids. Because she knows they can’t handle it, she makes no plans at all!

3. Inattention. Outdated plans are a major problem in estate planning. If folks don't review their documents and update them when necessary, their estate plans become obsolete. The complexity of the subject, the constantly changing tax laws, and "estate planning fatigue" can contribute to frustration and anxiety, which causes people to avoid taking any action or to procrastinate.

Your estate planning attorney can give you an annual analysis of your total assets available for heirs. You can then re-examine how much you want to give to your heirs. Think of it not as making lifelong decisions, but as making decisions twelve months at a time. Look at it as re-comforting yourself every twelve months, and you can feel better knowing you’re doing OK.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.  However, proper estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project.  Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.

Reference: financial-planning.com (August 8, 2015) “3 Biggest Barriers to Successful Estate Planning”

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  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Coronavirus/Covid-19
Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.