The number of older Americans has been increasing for years. With the Baby Boomer generation now entering their Golden Years, the senior demographic has reached historic numbers – and it is expected to continue to increase for at least the next decade. Those Baby Boomers, however, are not engaging in estate planning in anywhere near high enough numbers. A Port St. Lucie estate planning attorney at Kulas & Crawford explains what lack of estate planning by the Baby Boomers might mean for you.
And the Survey Says…
According to a survey conducted in 2019 by Caring.com 57 percent of U.S. adults do not currently have an estate plan. That same survey indicates that the Baby Boomer generation does not appear to be worried about estate planning. Millennials don’t seem too worried either, with only one in five of 18-34-year olds indicating that they have an estate plan in place. Moreover, while 76 percent of all U.S. adults said that having a Will is important, only 40 percent actually have one. The study, conducted earlier this year by SSRS, asked 1,003 adults whether they currently have estate-planning documents in case of their death, as well as the reason why not for those who said they don’t have a plan.
Estate Planning Facts and Figures
Additional facts and figures from the survey shed some light on who is likely to have a Will. Age plays a huge role, with 66 percent of those over 65 reporting that they do have a Will in place compared to 39 percent of 45-54-year olds, and 33 percent of 35-44-year olds. What’s more, most older adults believe that having a long-term estate plan is very important, but most younger adults don’t agree. 65 percent of those 65 and older said they believe having a long-term estate plan is very important while only 36 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 said the same.
Of the 40 percent of adult who do have a Will, 45 percent are White, 31 percent are Black, and 26 percent are Hispanic. Those who have a post-graduate college education are twice as likely to have a will as those with only a high school education or less. Specifically, only 28 percent of those who don’t have a college education (high school or less) have a Will or living trust. That number rises to 39 percent for those with a college education, and 58 percent for those with a post-graduate degree. Of those who indicated that they do not have a Will, the top four reasons given for not having one are:
- “I just haven’t gotten around to it.” (50 percent)
- “I don’t have enough assets to leave to anyone.” (22 percent)
- “I don’t know how.” (6 percent)
- “It’s too expensive.” (6 percent)
What Do the Figures Mean for You?
Do you have an estate plan in place? If you are in the majority, and you have yet to create and estate plan, ask yourself why you don’t have one. Are you among the one in five who thinks you lack sufficient assets to justify an estate plan? If so, it is imperative that you understand that the quantity and/or value of your assets does not determine your need for estate planning. One reason you should have a plan in place is that your assets increase in value, increasing the need for a plan. More importantly though, if you fail to leave behind even a basic estate plan, the state gets to decide how your assets are distributed after you are gone. Don’t let cost prevent you from planning either. In many cases, failing to create an estate plan cost your loved ones significantly more in the long-run than you would spend on creating a basic estate plan now. Finally, you do not need to know how to create an estate plan. Your estate planning attorney can help you create a plan tailored to your needs and objectives.
Contact a Port St. Lucie Estate Planning Attorney
To learn more, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning, please contact an experienced Port St. Lucie estate planning attorney at Kulas & Crawford by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule a consultation.