Q: My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years and we have two kids. I have been trying to get him to meet with an attorney so that we can create our estate plan. Every time the meeting gets close, he comes up with an excuse to cancel it. Any idea how I can get him to the attorney's office?
A: Estate planning makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Facing your mortality isn't always an easy thing to do. I do this for a living and I was married for almost eight years and had three kids before I got around to creating an estate plan. By the way, let's keep that between us, OK?
There are a lot of reasons people don't make estate planning a priority. Sometimes it's simply a money thing. Either they don't feel that they have enough wealth to need a plan or perhaps they hate the idea of paying an attorney to create a plan. Paying an attorney is right up there as getting a sharp stick in the eye for most people.
Sometimes people don't think they need an estate plan because of their own experiences with losing people they love. If you know your aunt Jane passed away without a will and her family didn't have any problems, you might not consider an estate plan a necessity.
Sometimes the problem really is a matter of time. All of us have busy lives and it isn't always easy to get away and sit down with an attorney. Planning takes time. There is prep work such as coming up with a list of assets and how they are titled. Once you get in the office, there will be meetings to attend and documents to review. Creating an estate plan can sometimes feel like a forced march.
Whatever the reason, it isn't always easy to convince someone that they need to create an estate plan. And even if your loved one agrees that a plan is important, actually getting him in the door may be a whole different battle.
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If I were you, I would start by reminding him how important it is to plan for the children. Remind him that he can help select who raises his children if something happens to both of you. Ask him if he really wants the brother that thinks beer is a food group raising his kids.
Remind him that if he doesn't create a plan, the state will give him one. Does he really want the folks in Indianapolis deciding who gets his stuff?
Other than using reason, the only thing I can suggest is talking to him around the time you start planning a vacation. It's been my experience that people start thinking about estate planning just before taking a vacation or right after someone they love dies. Use one of these important moments to your advantage.
Opinions are solely the writer's. Christopher W. Yugo is a Crown Point attorney. Address questions to Yugo in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN, 46321 or to email@example.com. Yugo's information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant or estate-planning specialist.