Captain’s Blog: 008
Part III: Money
In our series, Overcoming the Five Roadblocks to Legal Planning, we've discussed how unawareness can create misconceptions about estate planning, and we've explored how misconceptions can deter people from executing critical legal documents. We also acknowledged how time, or lack thereof, may become an obstacle to legal planning. Many people think they don’t have time to tackle the complexities of law.
As busy adults, we spend the bulk of our precious free time running errands and finishing chores to preserve the rhythm of our life. With this in mind, we discussed the disruption of a medical emergency, and how estate planning documents can keep the train on the track, even when life suddenly flies off the rails in a health crisis. While unawareness and time can certainly become obstacles, we’ll address the biggest roadblock of them all: Money.
Money. The third obstacle to legal planning is money. Hiring an attorney to draft legal documents is expensive. Period. (I don’t agree with the fee structure, either, so please don’t shoot the messenger.) Most law firms require full payment of services before the client receives their documents, so checking-off this To Do may require crafty saving strategies for a lot of hardworking people.
Many people are on a tight budget, and the cost of executing estate planning documents can seem like an extravagance, reserved only for the wealthy. The 2020 pandemic turned the world on its head, and since then, the cost of living has sharply risen. Utility prices have soared; rent and home prices have become ridiculous; gas prices have painfully escalated; and consumers are being hit in the wallet, even at the grocery. These days, it’s not like we have bags of money laying around gathering dust.
Try to think of it this way: Regardless of our individual financial status, we make monthly installment payments for our peace of mind and security. We buy automobile insurance in case we’re in a car accident. We pay for home owner’s insurance or renter’s insurance in the event of a fire, flood, or other natural disaster. These policies were created to protect and prepare us for future potential mishaps. We begrudgingly pay them, but yes, we do still pay them. Somehow, we budget to make ends meet.
There are two things in this world that are absolute certainties: (1) We may experience an untimely, early death, or (2) We will age; we will decline in some way; and sadly, we will eventually pass away. An elder law attorney I know would say, “People don’t fear death anymore. Now, they fear a long life with declining health.” When given these certainties, why aren’t we preparing for it as dutifully as we are preparing for damage to our property? Why are we putting off estate planning?
When we don’t plan, we are inviting headache and heartache for ourselves and our loved ones…because make no mistake…if we don’t plan, then our loved ones must figure out the mess if we’re unable to guide them. When you don't legally document your wishes, then loved ones can face impossibly difficult decisions regarding your health or finances. When it's time to make critical decisions, there may be a lack of consensus among family members regarding your medical treatment. There may be a lack of legal alternatives, and the remaining options may involve expenditures that no one anticipated...or can afford.
Through our videos and articles, Beach Barrister will show you the importance of legal planning, so you’ll understand why estate planning is a worthy investment. Hopefully, its importance will encourage you to slowly put money aside for the most essential legal documents. Even if you begin putting pocket change in a jar for future estate planning documents, it’s a start. For that, you should be proud because it's a step toward checking off the most important To Do of your life—which is one step closer than you took yesterday!
Please join us for the fourth installment of our series, The Five Roadblocks to Legal Planning: Part Four, where we'll discuss Perception as an obstacle to legal planning. (Click here to read now!)
Plan Early. Plan Often. Plan Well.
Beach Barrister is NOT a law firm. We are an educational forum. We do NOT legally counsel individuals based upon their specific life circumstances or planning goals.
Beach Barrister is NOT a substitute for legal counsel. We highly encourage every viewer of this site to seek a local, licensed, reputable attorney to assist you with your state-specific laws, planning goals, and execution of documents.