When it comes to creating an estate plan, many men hesitate.
Few people are eager to create their estate plan, but this seems especially true for men, including fathers, according to Fatherly in “If You Do One Thing For Your Kids, Plan For Your Death.”
There are a great many factors that cause all kinds of people, not just fathers, to procrastinate creating an estate plan. None of them are valid. They include:
- “If I make a Will, then it’s OK to die. I don’t want to die.”
- “I don’t have that much money, so I don’t need an estate plan.”
- “Everything I have is either joint tenancy or has a death beneficiary designation, so I don’t need an estate plan.”
- Fear: aversion to hiring a lawyer.
- Fear: not knowing how to select a good lawyer.
- Fear: not understanding what is involved in estate planning, or why a lawyer is even necessary.
- Fear: “How am I going to know at the end of the day if the lawyer has done a good job?”
- Not understanding the value of a great estate plan.
- Not wanting to spend money on a lawyer.
But why do fathers in particular seem to hesitate to create an estate plan that will take care of their spouse and children? The same dads who are obsessive about getting their cars tuned up every three months and checking smoke alarm batteries monthly, will keep putting off the will-signing appointment for months or years at a time. Does working without an “estate planning net,” so to speak, feed into many men’s need to be the invincible hero of the family? Is there a relationship between whether a man’s parents discussed, or didn’t discuss, their estate plan, and a father’s willingness to create his own? If a man’s father died young, will that influence a man to take care of his own estate planning, or make him likelier to avoid thinking about it?
However, if you have the responsibility of fatherhood, you must have an estate plan to take care of your spouse and children. An good estate plan will name guardians for minor or special needs children, protect children from themselves when young by having a trustee oversee their inheritance, and even protect those same assets throughout the child’s life from creditors and divorce. Children are perhaps the biggest reason for dads to have an estate plan.
Failure to have an estate plan frequently means that assets pass to people you did not intend, and in a manner that is unwise or disastrous. It may even mean that the decision about who will rear your minor child or oversee matters for your adult special needs child will be decided by a judge. And it all opens the possibility of a family battles.
An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating a plan that fits your unique circumstances and may include children.
Reference: Fatherly (Sep. 12, 2018) “If You Do One Thing For Your Kids, Plan For Your Death”