The process of estate planning is something that people often choose not to think about. There is no doubt that passing away is going to be on the bottom of your to do list, but as they say, death and taxes are the two eventualities that you simply cannot get around.
There was a study conducted recently by a legal website that is quite telling with regard to the trend toward unpreparedness among American adults. This study questioned people of various different age groups. It found that 64 percent of all adults are going through life without last wills.
It is logical to assume that many younger adults are unprepared, and they are, and they are part of this figure. However, the statistics for older people are also rather attention-getting. Around 62 percent of people who are between 45 and 54 years of age do not have wills, and the figure is 67 percent among women in this age group.
The most surprising statistic that the survey uncovered was the unpreparedness of people who are between the ages of 55 and 64. Only 49 percent of people in this group have last wills in place.
If you do not plan ahead for something that is definitely going to happen, you are failing to undertake one of the basic responsibilities of adulthood. Plus, you will not be the person who is left behind to handle the consequences of your inaction. The people that you love will pay the price, and that should certainly motivate you to take action to put a plan in place.
Parents of Minor Children
You never know what the future holds, and people of all ages pass away each and every day. Tragic accidents occur, and catastrophic illnesses can sometimes strike people who are in their twenties, thirties, and forties. Estate planning is not something that is exclusively for senior citizens. Every adult should have an estate plan in place.
Single people should certainly make sure that their assets get into the hands of their loved ones in the appropriate manner, and they should also prepare for end-of-life matters. A living will should be included to express life support preferences, and the value of a living will was well demonstrated by the Terri Schiavo case that was in the public consciousness a number of years ago.
This woman was in her twenties when she suffered full cardiac arrest. She fell into a vegetative state, and she was kept alive via the utilization of artificial nutrition and hydration techniques. After about eight years, her husband decided that she would want these measures removed so nature could take its course. Her parents did not agree, and a bitter court battle was waged.
If she would have had a living will in place, her own wishes would have been honored, and there would be no cause for disagreements among her loved ones. This is part of the lesson, but remember, she was only in her twenties when she became ill. This underscores why planning is important for people of all ages.
The stakes are even higher if you are the parent of a minor child. If you and your spouse have a child, and you get into a fatal traffic accident when you are both together, who would care for the child? This type of scenario is even more profound if you are a single parent, and there are many single parents out there.
If you do not have an estate plan in place, the court would step in to appoint a guardian to care for your child. Family members could disagree, and the proceeding could become acrimonious. Ultimately, the guardian that is chosen by the court may not be someone that you would have chosen yourself.
You can take the matter into your own hands if you plan your estate appropriately. To avoid a contested guardianship proceeding, you could nominate a guardian when you develop your estate plan. The court would still be involved, but it is very likely that your guardianship nomination would be honored.
It is also important that you make sure that your young family will have resources to draw from if you were to pass away unexpectedly.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are among the majority of American adults without an estate plan, you should certainly take action sooner rather than later.
We offer no obligation consultations to people here in central New Jersey, and we would be glad to answer your questions and help you put a custom crafted plan in place. You can call us at (908) 222-8803 or send us a message through our contact page to set up an appointment.