Why Most Americans Skip Estate Planning (and Why They Shouldn’t!)

Written By: Attorney Wendy W. Weston, Esq.

Here at Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., we understand that estate planning can stir up a range of emotions. Some fear it tempts fate, while others see it as a distant concern. Let me assure you, both are misconceptions. My role as an estate planning attorney is to empower you, not scare you. Life throws curveballs, and a well-crafted estate plan lessens burdens and brings peace of mind to your loved ones during challenging times.

Let’s tackle common roadblocks to estate planning:

“I Don’t Have Enough Assets”

This is a myth! Estate planning is about loved ones, not the size of your bank account.  Assets go beyond money. Who will care for your minor children? Without a designated guardian, a judge will decide, potentially not according to your wishes. How will your finances be managed if you can’t? Again, the courts get involved, leading to a lengthy, expensive, and emotionally draining process for your family. Even modest assets can be depleted by court procedures. An estate plan lets you clearly outline your wishes for medical treatment during illness, taking that burden off their shoulders during an already stressful time.  This isn’t just about what happens after you’re gone; it’s about being prepared for the unexpected and ensuring your needs are met.  There are four key documents that make this possible, giving you peace of mind and control over your care.


We understand the reasons for putting things off: fear, lack of family, feeling overwhelmed, or simply being busy.  An estate plan allows you to make informed decisions while you still have the capacity. Procrastinating on your estate plan can be a recipe for stress and chaos for the people you love most.  Without clear instructions, loved ones facing your illness or death are left scrambling to make tough decisions you should have made. This can lead to family conflict, delays, and even unintended consequences for your assets.  Don’t wait for the unexpected – take charge now and ensure your wishes are known.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Estate planning can seem complex, but that’s where we come in! We explain everything in clear, everyday language, welcoming your questions and encouraging you to bring a trusted companion.  Our experienced staff will guide you step-by-step, crafting a plan unique to your needs and family. Consider it an investment in your loved ones’ future security. The good news is you can break it down. Begin by gathering basic information about your assets (house, car, accounts) and loved ones (beneficiaries, guardians for minor children). This simple step will give you a clear picture and empower you to take the next steps. Remember, even a basic plan is better than no plan at all, and you can always build on it later.

Cost Concerns

While there are costs associated with estate planning, they pale in comparison to the potential costs of not having a plan.  Court processes for guardianship, healthcare decision-making (conservatorship), or managing finances (conservatorship) can quickly overshadow even complex estate plan costs.  Probate court, with or without a will, can be expensive and time-consuming for your family at a difficult time.  A well-crafted plan saves your family significant money and emotional strain down the road.

Why Choose Surprenant & Beneski, P.C.?

  • Unwavering Expertise, Tailored Solutions.  Our team includes Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELAs) – a prestigious distinction showcasing their dedication to elder law excellence.  This expertise translates to a deeper understanding of your needs, whether you require complex estate planning or specialized elder law guidance.
  • Beyond Expertise: A Wealth of Experience.  Our collaborative firm environment fosters a wider range of knowledge compared to solo practitioners. This ensures we can draw upon the right expertise to craft a plan that perfectly reflects your unique family situation and goals.
  • Value You Can Trust. We prioritize protecting your assets while keeping costs in mind. Our efficient approach delivers a plan that maximizes the value of your investment, ensuring your legacy is secured without unnecessary burden.

Open Communication, Lasting Legacy. 

While discussing death and finances can be difficult, open communication is key.  An estate plan can actually become a bridge for these conversations, fostering understanding and easing the burden on your loved ones later.

Estate planning isn’t about goodbyes, it’s about celebrating life’s legacy.  It’s about ensuring your wishes are honored, your loved ones are protected, and your future is secure.

Don’t wait – take control of your tomorrow, today.  Contact Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. for a complimentary 90-minute consultation. Let’s work together to create a plan that brings you peace of mind and empowers your loved ones.

Remember, you deserve peace of mind. We’re here to help you achieve it.

©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street, Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375.  This article is for illustration purposes only.  This article does not constitute legal advice.  There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article.  DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this article.  Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney.  Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems.