Passing away is one of the sure things of life, but most people have done nothing to prepare for this inevitable event.
How significant is the lack of preparedness?
Caring.com endeavors to answer this question each year when they conduct their annual surveys, and the 2021 results have been released.
Good News and Bad News
Over recent years, fewer and fewer people have estate plans in place, but the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have gotten the attention of younger adults. Without question, this unprecedented situation has demonstrated the tenuous nature of life.
The number of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 with estate plans increased by 63 percent. Last year, 16.4 percent were prepared, and the figure skyrocketed to 26.8 percent this year.
People in the next group inexplicably went in the other direction. In 2020, 27.2 percent of individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 had plans in place, and it was just 22.5 percent this year.
This is a particularly disturbing statistic. If you think about it, many adults in this age group have dependent children still living in their homes.
When you roll the dice without a plan as a single person with no dependents, no one will be left vulnerable if you pass away.
The dynamic is entirely different when you have a spouse and/or children. It is simply irresponsible to go through life without an estate plan would there are people depending on you.
Even if you do not have considerable resources, you can carry term life insurance, and it is very inexpensive. An estate plan for a parent with children should also include the designation of a guardian.
Unpreparedness Among Older Adults
Most people that are 55 years of age and older must have estate plans, right? This is a logical assumption, but in fact, a lot of younger people are more practical than their older counterparts.
Back in 2019, the majority older adults did have estate plans in place, though the number was underwhelming at 60 percent. In 2020, it plummeted to 47.9 percent, and this year’s survey found that only 44 percent of seniors and those approaching senior citizen status are prepared.
Unless they are betting on the discovery of the fountain of youth, the 56 percent are tempting fate.
Consequences of Intestacy
If you die without any type of estate planning documents at all, the Surrogate’s Court would supervise the administration of the intestate estate. They would name a personal representative to act as the administrator, and final debts would be paid.
The personal representative would identify and inventory the assets, and this can be easier said than done when there are no instructions. After all the necessary tasks have been completed, the assets would be distributed under the intestate succession laws of the state of New York.
The way that the assets are distributed under these circumstances may not be consistent with your true wishes. Plus, the situation would be unnecessarily complicated and time-consuming.
Access Our Estate Planning Worksheet
We have prepared a worksheet that you can go through to gain a more thorough understanding of this important process. It is free, so you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
You can get your copy right now if you head over to our worksheet access page and follow the simple instructions.
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