There's an interesting issue in the United States where everyone knows they'll need an estate plan, but many people never write a will. Similarly, children often understand that their parents need to talk to them about estate planning -- four out of five people claimed these conversations were important in one study -- but less than one out of three families actually sit down to have that talk.
Why do they avoid these critical conversations? Reasons include:
- Trying not to confront undesirable possibilities
- Not wanting to talk about death
- Worrying about how family members are going to react
- Lacking the knowledge needed to start the conversation
- Feeling that it's just not the right time for that conversation
While these reasons are understandable on many levels -- children don't want to offend their parents, for instance -- they can still create a lot of problems. Children may have no idea what their parents actually want. Meanwhile, parents may not realize how much stress they're putting on their kids, or they may honestly not understand how important it is to do all of their estate planning as early as possible.
With this in mind, it's important to change these common perceptions about estate planning. People need to stop thinking of it as something awkward and difficult to talk about. They need to realize just how crucial these conversations are so that they can get started.
On top of that, everyone should know what estate planning options they have, what legal steps they can take and how they can set up a plan that puts their family first.