It is said that death and taxes are the two certainties of life. Everyone anticipates April 15th every year, and they take the appropriate steps to prepare themselves for this certainty.
However, for some reason, most people completely ignore the ramifications of the second one.
Caring.com conducts studies on an annual basis to measure the estate planning preparedness of American adults, and they have compiled statistics for 2021.
Youngest Group Surges Ahead
Many people do not put estate plans in place because they feel invincible while they are relatively young.
In reality, there are those that pass away in accidents, and some folks succumb to catastrophic illnesses before their time. Nonetheless, young people have traditionally put the matter on the back burner.
That was then, and this is now. It appears as though the COVID-19 pandemic has opened a lot of eyes.
This year, the Caring.com researchers asked respondents if they were motivated to put plans in place because of the emergence of the novel coronavirus. A surprising 45 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 stated that they did in fact take action as a response to the threat of COVID.
The figure was 35 percent for individuals between the ages of 35 and 54, and it was 28 percent for the oldest segment of the population.
When you look at the total numbers, a very interesting trend has emerged. The preparedness figure for the 35 to 54 age group is 22.5 percent this year. Last year, it was 27.2 percent, and in 2019, it was 37 percent.
Surprisingly, the youngest group is now more prepared than the middle segment. Researchers found that 26.8 percent of respondents between 18 and 34 years of age had plans in place.
The numbers are rapidly moving in the wrong direction when you are looking at the group that is 55 years of age and older. In 2019, 60 percent had wills or trusts, and that number went down to 47.9 percent last year. This year, it is just 44 percent.
Consequences of Inaction
If you pass away without an estate plan, it can trigger a cascade of negative consequences. The probate court would supervise the estate administration process. They would name a personal representative to act as the administrator, and a notice would be posted for creditors.
The assets would be identified and inventoried, and this can be difficult if you do not leave final instructions. After valid debts are paid, the assets would be distributed under the intestate succession laws of Ohio.
It is very possible that the assets would be distributed in a manner that is not in accordance with your wishes. Plus, there can be an additional negative fallout if you don’t have an estate plan.
A properly constructed plan will address end-of-life issues that can arise. Do you want to be kept alive through the use of life-support if you are in a terminal condition? Is it possible that family members could disagree with regard to the best course of action under these circumstances?
You can assert your wishes and take a life-and-death decision out of the hands of your family members if you execute a living will. A durable power of attorney for health care can be added to name someone to make medical decisions that are not related to life-support usage.
A power of attorney for financial matters should be included, and you should add a HIPAA release to give your doctors the freedom to discuss your condition with your health care representative.
Take Action Today!
Some people do not take estate planning action because they do not know where to begin. Of course, many of the same people don’t know how to fix their cars, but they know how to contact a mechanic.
We can gain an understanding of your family situation and your objectives and explain your options so you can make fully informed decisions. Ultimately, you will come away with a custom crafted estate plan that ideally suits your needs.
If you are ready to get started, you can call us at 513-721-1513 to schedule a consultation appointment, and you can fill out our contact form if you would like to send us a message.
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