Though we are all aware of the fact that there are people who procrastinate and put some of their responsibilities on the back burner, you may think that most people are responsible enough to have an estate plan in place. But in fact, one of the reasons why we frequently emphasize how important it is to take action is because of the fact a surprisingly high percentage of people have not executed even the most basic of estate planning documents.
There was a Harris poll conducted not too long ago that questioned just over 1,000 adults in an effort to find out just how prepared people are with regard to estate and incapacity planning. It found that the the majority of Americans do not have an estate plan in place.
Only 35% of the people who responded to this Harris poll stated that they did in fact have a last will to direct the distribution of their assets after they pass away. Just 29% of the poll respondents had executed a living will stating their preferences regarding the types of medical procedures that they would be willing to accept or deny in the event of their incapacitation.
As you might expect, older Americans were more likely than younger ones to have executed the appropriate estate planning documents. However, surprising numbers of people who should know better, as it were, are completely unprepared. Only 48% of the individuals who responded to the poll who were 65 years of age and older had executed durable financial powers of attorney empowering someone to handle their affairs should they become unable to do so as a result of incapacitation. Just 51% of them had executed durable powers of attorney for health care.
The problem lies with people thinking that they will always have time to make these arrangements later on. Unfortunately, you never know when your day will come, and when you neglect estate and incapacity planning you are putting yourself and your family at risk. If you are unprepared at the present time, pick up the phone right now and get in touch with an experienced estate planning attorney to arrange for an initial consultation.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.