In a study conducted by Caring.com, the majority of American adults admitted to recognizing the importance of having an estate plan; however the majority of those surveyed also admitted to not having an estate plan in place.
So why do the majority of Americans not have an estate plan? The study conducted by Caring.com found the top 4 reasons given as to why the people surveyed did not have a will to be “I just haven’t gotten around to it”, “I don’t have enough assets to leave to anyone”, “I don’t know how”, and “it’s too expensive”.
A common misconception is that estate planning is only for the wealthy; however, regardless of your net worth without an effective estate plan settling your affairs after you go could be a lengthy and costly undertaking for your family.
Living trusts often serve several purposes, including allowing you to pass on your estate without going through the probate process. Additionally there are procedures that would allow someone else to manage the trust in the event you become incapacitated and can no longer manage your own affairs.
Powers of attorney are another useful tool in developing an estate plan. Two types of power of attorney are commonly used in estate planning. These include a financial power of attorney and a medical power of attorney. A financial power of attorney will allow a trusted person to handle your finances and property if you become incapacitated and unable to handle these affairs. A medical power of attorney will allow a trusted person to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to make them yourself.
Effective estate planning is important, and having an effective estate plan in place has been described by Stephen White, a regional leader of wealth planning for BMO Wealth Management in Milwaukee, as being one of the greatest gifts you could ever give your family. Take a little time today to think about your estate plan. Planning will help give your family a great gift as they will know and be able to follow your final wishes.
Call us at (580) 234-6600 to discuss setting up your estate plan.
 76% of respondents to Caring.com’s Will and Living Trust Survey indicated that having a will is important but only 40% of them actually had one. https://www.caring.com/caregivers/estate-planning/wills-survey/