We are all well aware of the fact that we have certain ongoing responsibilities in life, and we invariably prioritize them in a logical manner. One of the keys to doing this effectively is to recognize the sum total of these responsibilities, and some of them are very evident and others may be less so. When it comes to estate planning, most people recognize it as a responsibility, but many do not see it as much of a priority. This can be a mistake because although the value of estate planning may seem to lie well into the future, you really never know what tomorrow will bring.
Some people procrastinate about creating an initial estate plan, and others put off updating an existing plan that they know is out of date. You may finally recognize the fact that an estate plan has become a necessity when you first have children. How can you go forward each day without the appropriate amount of life insurance coverage and a will that includes your guardianship choices? Procrastination is not an option here. Making sure that your family will have a replacement for your income if you were to pass away in an accident and identifying the people who you would want to serve as guardians of your children are matters that should take a pretty high priority.
Analogies sometimes fall short of the mark, but they are helpful nonetheless. If you are carrying insurance on a car worth $10,000 and you buy a car worth $50,000, you need to upgrade your coverage; not tomorrow, next week, or next year, but immediately. When your life situation changes significantly and those changes would have an impact on your estate plans, you need to take action. You have to react to external circumstances as well, such as changing tax laws.
If you procrastinate when you know you should be revisiting your estate plan, and the unthinkable happens, it can have devastating impact on your estate. And if you need some motivation to make your estate plan a priority, remember that it will be your loved ones who are left behind to suffer the consequences of your procrastination.