Planning for the worst: are we doomsdayers?

Doomsdayer: one who speaks of Judgment Day or is characterized by predictions of disaster.  I was just writing about what happens when new parents find themselves in an accident and disabled…simultaneously.  The chances of this happening, I suppose, are not very great.  But the consequences if it should happen are so great that I think it is imperative to plan for it.

We have insurance for our homes, our cars, our lives, our businesses, and our health.  Other than health insurance, how often do we need that insurance?  If you weren’t required to have car insurance, would you have it?  Is it really worth it to pay monthly for a once-yearly flat tire change or jump?  How many accidents are we in yearly?  I mean individually – how many have you been in?  I have been in one in 22 years of driving.  Property insurance is another beast: the chance may be small that we lose our home to fire or earthquake or tornado or theft, but the devastation would be so complete, the insurance is well worth it. But we don’t create estate plans as a matter of course, as I think we should.  An estate plan is a kind of insurance for your family, that when you’re gone, your family and your estate, the assets you’ve worked your whole life to accumulate, will be protected.

So, why, when it comes to estate planning, do we avoid it?  We know we are all, without a doubt, going to die someday.  We know that, unless our gross estate has less than $100,000 in it (for California) – any0ne with a house, really – that our estate will go through probate.  We know that young people die every day.  We know that probate takes 2-3 to 5-6 years to complete and can cost our family, can take the inheritance from our heirs, in the amount of 8-10% of the gross estate.  We know our family will suffer having to take our estate through probate, and that creating an estate plan will avoid it entirely, give our family a painless, quick, very low cost transfer of our entire estate…and yet we put it off and put it off and put it off.



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