Estate planning is a highly critical task that many people often overlook. Estate planning refers to the process of planning ahead or designating the process through which an estate or asset can be disposed. The main aim of estate planning is to ensure that there are no uncertainties during probate administration. Furthermore, the process seeks to reduce the amount of the estate that is taken up in state fees and taxes. According to research, up to 50% of all Americans do not have a will, an estate plan or a medical directive of any kind (Attorney, 2011). The main question that arises from such findings is, “What is the reason why many people fail to plan for what will occur at the end of their lives?”
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In order to determine the reasons why many people do not carry put estate planning, three interviews were carried out. The people interviewed included; a housemaid, an attorney and a teacher. The interviewees were asked whether they had any knowledge about estate planning and whether they had a will that could be referred to in case of sudden death or incapacitation. The interviewees were then asked for the reasons behind their estate planning or lack thereof. This paper will review the responses received.
To begin with, both the attorney and the teacher had knowledge of estate planning. However, neither had been able to take time and plan for their estates. The housemaid on the other hand had no knowledge of estate planning and had never considered the idea of estate planning. For starters, it was imperative to explain to all the three interviewees the importance of estate planning and having a will. To begin with, the interviewees were explained to, what exactly, estate planning does. It was noted that estate planning is a form of security for the wishes of a person on how their property should be handled in case of their death or incapacitation.
Each of the respondents gave different reasons as to why they did not have a will or any form of estate planning for their future. The attorney was decidedly categorical that he did not have a will simply because he did not wish to contemplate his own demise. Furthermore, he claimed that, despite having thoughts of coming up with one, he had been too busy with work. The housemaid claimed that, even though she now sees the importance of having a will and a comprehensive estate plan, she does not have enough wealth to warrant such a move. She claimed that she only owns a house that she had just completed paying for and a single car. The teacher claimed that he lacked the time and resources required to devote to an attorney to have a will written. In any case, he was healthy and did not think he was going to die any time soon. Since the attorney already had extensive knowledge on matters concerning estate planning, it was concluded that it was his indifference that had made him not have a proper estate planning measures. For the teacher and the housemaid, it was purely out of ignorance.
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For the teacher and the housemaid, the importance of a will and other estate planning measures were discussed. The housemaid was duly informed that estate planning was not an activity for the wealthy. Owning a home and a car is modest and these could be passed on to her children or any other suitable beneficiaries in case anything ever happened to her. For the teacher, it was explained that it was not necessary to have an attorney in order to come up with a will. However, it was strongly advised that the guidance of an attorney be sought. Finally, the interviewees were made aware of the complementary documents that constitute a proper estate plan. These include; a revocable living trust which ensures that, on the death of the trustor, probate can be avoided. Secondly, a power over will document which serves as a directive of the revocable living trust to ensure that the assets of a trust are managed in line with the trust’s terms. The other document is the Power of Attorney for financial matters document. This document authorizes another party to execute decisions as well as act on behalf of the deceased or incapacitated person in accordance to their will (Ventura, 2008)
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In conclusion, the interview was successful as the objectives had been met. It was determined that estate planning and the key processes involved are highly misunderstood by the public. It was determined that, despite the importance of estate planning, ignorance and indifference still had many people, even professionals ignoring it.