As estate planning attorneys, we await the Caring.com survey that is conducted every year. It measures the estate planning preparedness of American adults, and the 2022 results are in.
You may assume that most people that are 55 years of age and older have estate plans in place. This is not the case. This year, 45 percent of respondents stated that they had wills or trusts. Last year, the figure was 44 percent, and it was 48 percent in 2020.
In 2021, there was a significant uptick in the percentage of people between 18 and 34 that had estate plans. In 2020, 16 percent of these folks were prepared, and it went up to 27 percent the following year. Most of the people that acted said that they were motivated by the pandemic.
Just 27 percent of individuals that are between the ages of 35 and 54 have plans this year. This is troubling, because many of these people are the parents of dependent children. The same thing applies to the younger age group.
Estate Planning for Young Families
If you have a family depending on you and your income suddenly vanished, where would they be financially? You should definitely ask yourself this question and act accordingly sooner rather than later.
Life insurance will provide income replacement, and term life insurance is reasonable. You should also plan your estate in a way that designates an adult to handle assets on behalf of minor children.
A living trust can be used to achieve this objective. You would be the trustee while you are living, and the successor that you name would administer the trust after your death. This type of trust will provide a safety net when your children are young. At the same time, it can also be appropriate for the rest of your life.
Even if you have a trust, you should have a will. You can name a trustee to care for your children if it becomes necessary in a will, and a trust does not serve that purpose.
A married couple can create a shared living trust. This can be the right choice when most of the valuable property is owned jointly. When one spouse dies, the survivor would become the sole trustee. They would inherit full control of the jointly held property.
Why Are People Unprepared?
The researchers asked the people that do not have plans in place why they were unprepared. One-third said that they didn’t have enough assets to pass along, and 40 percent said they haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Thirteen percent thought that it was too expensive. Twelve percent did not know how to proceed. Both of these objections are misguided. Our clients are usually pleasantly surprised when they hear about our rates, and no one is expecting a layperson to know how to create an estate plan.
If your car is not starting, you know that you have to call a mechanic. You would think that the 12 percent that don’t know where to begin would know how to get their cars fixed. All it takes is a phone call to an estate planning attorney to put the wheels in motion.
Attend an Education Program!
Since you found your way to our website, you must be looking for information about estate planning. We have a treasure trove of written materials that you can access here, so we invite you to look around.
In addition to these online resources, we conduct education programs at comfortable locations in and around Oklahoma City. This is a great way to come away with a lot of important information, and you make an initial connection with our firm in the process.
To see the dates, visit our Oklahoma City estate planning event page. If you decide to join us, follow the instructions to register so we can reserve your spot.
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