Study Suggests Estate Planning Is Still Not a High Priority for Americans

study, Naperville estate planning attorneyFor the last 70 years or so, famous actors, musicians, athletes, and other larger than life personalities have dominated American popular culture. Our obsession with celebrities, it seems, knows no bounds, and with the advent of the internet and now drone technology, things are only getting worse.

Celebrities have always maintained a level of influence over their fans and followers. Consider the popular hairstyle of the 1990s known as “the Rachel”—a reference to the character played by Jennifer Aniston on the television sitcom Friends. Of course, marketing companies are quick to harness a person’s star power to increase a particular brand’s visibility or customer base. But what about celebrities as people? Are there some things we can learn from them that apply to our own lives? In one area, at least, celebrities do not seem to have the ability to change the average person’s thinking. Despite several high-profile examples of the dangers of dying without an estate plan—most recently, the popular recording artist Prince—more than half of Americans still have not even begun the estate planning process.

New Study, Same Story

Chicago-based BMO Wealth Management recently released the results of a study that looked at the planning patterns of adults across the country. More than half of the respondents—52 percent—said that they do not even have a will in place, let alone a more comprehensive estate plan. According to the study, most of the participants planned to leave their estate to their spouses and children in equal proportions, but some had more complicated plans.

Approximately 40 percent of the respondents admitted that they had not yet spoken with their children about their estate planning intentions, and only one in three said that their children or heirs know where to find any their wills, powers of attorney, or other important documents.

Two Common Concerns

Financial experts believe that there are a number of reasons why so many people procrastinate estate planning. Some people are hesitant to confront their own mortality, which is understandable to a degree, but until science proves otherwise, death is inevitable. Other people think their estate is not big enough or worth enough to spend anything on the estate planning process. No matter how much you think you own, however, you probably have more than you realize, especially if you hold life insurance policies or other policies with death benefits. Estate planning, at its simplest, eliminates uncertainty and confusion for your surviving family, and if done right, the investment is completely worthwhile.

Call for Help

If you have not yet begun the estate planning process, now is the time to do so. Contact an experienced Naperville estate planning attorney to discuss your concerns and explore your available options. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.

 

Sources:

The Street

Financial Advisor

The Balance