What is Your Plan?
To many, estate planning can seem like something that can wait because they don’t expect to be passing away any time soon. This is understandable to some extent, but by the same token these people don’t drive off the lot with a brand-new car without carrying insurance on the vehicle. They certainly don’t expect to get into an accident, but they want to be prepared just in case. But when you look at the matter objectively, a minority of cars that are purchased wind up getting totaled in accidents…but everyone dies.
Late in 2009, there was a Harris interactive survey conducted that is of interest to people in the estate planning community. People were asked questions regarding their preparedness for the future, and the results were quite telling. Only 35% of the people who were surveyed said that they had a Last Will in place, and just 29% of them had executed a Living Will.
Even people who were older were remarkably unprepared. 23% of individuals who were surveyed who were over the age of 55 had executed no estate planning documents at all. And only 48% of those age 65 and over had prepared for possible incapacitation by executing Durable Financial Powers of Attorney. 51% of them had executed Powers of Attorney for Health Care, and 58% of the seniors who responded had signed a Living Will.
The survey found that 19% of the people who did not have an estate plan in place said that they did not have enough financial resources to make an estate plan necessary. What they don’t understand is that there is more to estate planning than the transfer of financial assets, and the well-publicized case of Terri Schiavo proves this quite profoundly. Learn more about Terri’s story here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo_case
If you are one of the many who is going through life without an estate plan, you may want to take action sooner rather than later and contact an experienced estate planning attorney so that you can put at least a basic plan in place.