Estate planning should not be something where the “better late than never” mantra should be applied. While it is best to have something in place prior to your death, the earlier you start your planning can relieve family turmoil and thwart any chance of stress or confusion concerning your final wishes.

Estate planning may not be the best subject you want to start talking about, but waiting until the bitter end to finish your end of life planning can cause problems. Here is what can go wrong.

Documents are prepared poorly or are incorrect

When rushed for time, shortcuts are common, and they can lead to mistakes. If you are on your deathbed and the subject is finally brought up about the contents of your estate plan, revealing that nothing yet has been accomplished may send family members scrambling. In the interest of time, a common place people will go is to the internet to find the legal documents that may help them. However, when filling out these forms, it is easy to miss key provisions or be generally confused about how to fill them out. You may also pull documents that are inadequate to your needs. When you take care of your estate planning in advance, you will not only have time to review your documents carefully, but you can get the help of an estate planning professional to assist you.

Avoiding family conflicts

The grief and confusion that surrounds a death should not be the place where estate planning takes place. If you do not complete your estate planning, or worse yet, do not have any planning done at all, the sadness of your family can easily turn to anger. Expectations and long held beliefs may not go in favor of family members and you will not be around to offer explanations. Emotional times are difficult for people to process unfavorable information and this can cause disputes. Starting your estate planning early can provide time and acceptance regarding your final wishes.

Tax benefits not utilized

An important part of estate planning is finding ways to alleviate the amount of taxes that your heirs will have to pay. The quick execution of a will at the end of your life can easily miss all the considerations that tax consequences will have on the family. These tax implications can drain your assets and keep your heirs from receiving the benefits you had intended for them.

You probably have things in your life that you decide to take care of now to avoid potential problems down the road. Estate planning should be one of those things. Just like you may be frustrated with a child who waits until the night before their science project is due to start working on it, you shouldn’t upset them either by procrastinating on your estate planning.