An estate plan is much more than passing along property upon death. Other documents typically included in an estate plan allow you to appoint people to make decisions on your behalf if you should become unable to do so while still alive. When you become a legal adult, even before you have accumulated much property, it’s a good idea to have a simple estate plan.
As the years go by, the property is acquired and families grow larger. Lives become more complicated and situations may exist that need to be planned for. Your estate plan should evolve with the changes in your life so that your wishes are always up to date.
At the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen, we understand that the idea of estate planning may seem like something that can be put off for later. Our Santa Clarita estate planning attorney has heard from many clients about how relieved they are to finally get their estate plan in place and how they only wish they’d done it sooner.
Who is Most Likely to Have an Estate Plan
Dealing with the pandemic during the last couple of years has brought the need for estate planning to the forefront for many people. However, though people may have become more aware of the need for estate planning, less than a majority have actually done much about it. In 2021, only about 44% of Americans over the age of 55 have estate plans.
A recent study done by Caring.com found some interesting statistics regarding estate planning and various age groups:
- 2 out of 3 adults do not have a will
- Estate planning by 18-34 year-olds has increased almost 10% since 2019
- Estate planning by persons over age 55 has declined 16% since 2019
- In the last 5 years, the overall percentage of Americans who have estate plans has declined by almost 10%
Reasons Why People Put Off Estate Planning
People have many reasons why estate planning is not at the top of their to-do lists. The obvious one is that people rightly associate estate planning with planning for death – something that is uncomfortable for a lot of folks to talk about.
While most people will say estate planning is something that is important, they also offer the following reasons for why they still don’t have an estate plan:
- Too expensive
- Don’t understand the need
- Don’t have a family
- Don’t have many assets
- Don’t want to think about it
- Haven’t gotten around to it
Reasons to Stop Putting Off Estate Planning
Peace of mind. People feel good when they know they have taken care of business. Planning for what happens after death is only part of what an estate plan does. Estate plans also allow a person to make their wishes are known about healthcare and business in the event they become incompetent or incapacitated.
Estate planning is practical contingency planning. Having an estate plan in place means you’re ready for whatever happens. The following are some specific legal decisions you can make with a valid estate plan that will avoid additional court proceedings in most cases.
- Direct who is to get your property and in what proportions
- Protect assets from taxes and creditors
- Appoint guardians for minor children
- Avoid probate by using a trust
- Appoint a person to administer a will or trust
- Direct what you want to have happened in certain health situations
- Name a doctor you want to be treated by
- Name the person you want to handle your business affairs
Where to Go for Help with Estate Planning
Estate planning doesn’t need to be scary or complicated. At the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen, we create estate plans for people at all stages of their lives – from those who are just starting out in their careers to young families without many assets, and those more established who have accumulated substantial wealth.
Our Santa Clarita estate planning lawyer works with you to determine your specific needs and then puts together the estate plan that fits where you are now and grows with you into the future. When you are prepared, you will feel more secure no matter what life might have in store.