How to Get Started on an Estate Plan

As with many things in life, getting started on something that seems complicated is often the hardest part. CNBC’s recent article entitled “67% of Americans have no estate plan, survey finds. Here’s how to get started on one” reports that just a third of Americans have put these plans in place, according to a new survey from senior living referral service Caring.com.

That means that 67% are leaving what happens to them and their assets in case of disability or death up to others, including the state.

What is the biggest reason why? They just have not gotten around to it, according to 40% of survey respondents.

Meanwhile, 33% say they do not have enough assets to pass on to their loved ones, 13% said the process is too costly. A total of  12% said they do not know how to get a will.

Those who have had a serious case of COVID-19 are 66% more likely to engage in estate planning compared to those who have not, according to Caring.com. About 41% of those ages 18 to 34 now see greater need for a will or other estate-planning documents following the onset of the pandemic.

Of course, there’s room for improvement, said Jim Rosenthal, CEO of Caring.com, noting only 48% of people who had a severe case of Covid have an estate plan in place.

“Even with the big scare of potential impending death, people still don’t run out and take care of what’s not that challenging to take care of,” Rosenthal said.

You should know a few things about the estate planning process: 1) it is not that time consuming with the assistance of an attorney; 2) you do not need to have a lot of assets to decide where you want the assets you do have to go when you die; 3) an estate plan will specify who you want to be the guardian of your kids; 4) you don't want to leave those decisions for a court to decide; and 5) it is far less costly to put a plan in place than it is to have your estate go through probate.

The first step is to become as educated as you can and consider consulting an experienced estate planning attorney. Put it on your calendar and get started. If you are in the Madison, Wisconsin area, book a call with attorney Rick Coad.

Reference: CNBC (April 11, 2022) “67% of Americans have no estate plan, survey finds. Here’s how to get started on one”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Wills, Probate Attorney

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