The website Caring.com has been conducting estate planning preparedness surveys over recent years, and the results are surprising, but not in a good way. Far too many people have been going through life without estate plans, but matters are going from bad to worse.
In 2017, 42 percent of all respondents said that they had a will or a trust in place. In 2020, the number has gone down to just 32 percent.
Obviously, you would expect very young adults to be unprepared, and 83.6 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 had no estate planning documents at all.
This is not as understandable as it may seem to be on the surface. Many individuals in this age group have spouses and dependent children. When you are in this position, you should certainly have life insurance and a will that names a potential guardian for your children.
When you move up the demographic spectrum to look at the 35 to 54-year-old age group, the unpreparedness continues. Just over 27 percent of these people had estate plans, and the number was 47.9 percent for people that are 55 years of age and older.
If you are among the majority without an estate plan, and you pass away before you take any action, the result would be the condition of intestacy. Under these circumstances, the probate court would name a personal representative to act as the estate administrator.
This can be the start of the negative fallout, because the person that is chosen may not be someone that you would have selected yourself. There could potentially be conflicts of interest, and the personal representative may not have good relationships with everyone in your family.
During probate, final debts would be paid, and creditors would be given a chance to come forward. After a number of months, the court would close the estate if everything is in order. At that point, the resources would be distributed in accordance with the intestate succession laws of our state.
It is very possible that people that you love would be inherited or shortchanged if it comes down to that.
Incapacity Among Elders
If you think that you will always be able to put an estate plan in place when you are on your deathbed, you should understand some facts about longevity and incapacity.
The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that about 10 percent of all seniors have contracted the disease, and approximately one third of people that are 85 years of age and older are Alzheimer’s sufferers.
This is not the only cause of dementia, and in fact, most people in nursing homes are suffering from some type of cognitive impairment.
In order for a will to be valid, it has to be executed when the testator is of sound mind. This is something to think about if you have always assumed that you can put a plan in place during your twilight years.
Free Estate Planning Worksheet
If you would like to learn more about the estate planning process, we have a great resource that you should definitely access. Our firm has prepared an estate planning worksheet that is being offered free of charge.
It is very easy to go through, but as you follow the steps, you will come away with a more complete understanding of the process. To get your copy, visit our worksheet page and follow the simple instructions.
Schedule a Consultation Right Now!
We would be more than glad to help if you are ready to take action. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 513-721-1513.