Estate planning attorneys always emphasize the fact that you should have a plan in place as soon as you are a self-supporting adult. It becomes absolutely essential when you have a partner and/or children depending on you.
Caring.com has been conducting annual surveys to gauge the estate planning preparedness of American adults. They have found that the numbers are going in the wrong direction.
In 2017, 42 percent of people they surveyed had estate plans in place. This year, that number has dropped to 33.1 percent. When you break it down by age group, the numbers are still rather surprising.
Estate planning preparedness for individuals between 18 and 34 is only 24 percent. Only 27 percent of individuals between 35 and 54 have estate plans in place.
The one thing that should get your attention is the fact that almost all parents of dependent children fall into these age groups. These people say they would do anything for their families. Unfortunately, they have done nothing to protect them from an estate planning perspective.
Some of the younger adults that do not have estate plans in place know that it is important, but they do not have considerable resources to pass along.
This is understandable, but these families should carry sufficient life insurance, and term life is affordable for most people. Guardianship designations are important as well.
You Never Know What the Future Holds
We all know that people usually do not pass away before their time, but it does happen. Plus, individuals of all ages become incapacitated and unable to communicate due to catastrophic illness and injuries sustained in accidents.
Anything can happen at any time, and this has always been true, but the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the ultimate wake-up call. You can be perfectly healthy one day, and a week later, you can be fighting for your life in an intensive care unit.
At this stage, the landscape has improved considerably. Yet, there are still an average of over 250 deaths a day at the time of this writing, and the early days of the pandemic should never be forgotten.
Advance Directives for Health Care
Your plan should include documents called advance directives for health care. One such document is a living will. You will state your preferences with regard to the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical respiration, feeding tubes, and artificial nutrition when you create your living will.
You can include your organ and tissue donation choices in your living will. Your comfort care medication preferences can be stated in your living will.
Another advance health care directive that should be part of the plan is a durable power of attorney. You can name a representative to make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. Their decision-making authority would apply to health care matters that are not specifically covered in the living will.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted back in 1996. It was put in place to keep medical records private.
Because of these restrictions, you should name your representative in a HIPAA release authorization. This will give doctors the freedom to freely discuss your condition with your health care agent.
Schedule a Consultation!
Reach out to us today so that you can begin working with an Oklahoma City estate planning lawyer to create your plan. Our doors are always open. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment. We can also be reached by phone at 405-843-6100.