Far too many people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning, and the actual percentage may surprise you. According to Caring.com, only 32 percent of adults in the United States have wills, and the percentage is just 47.9 percent for folks who are 55 years of age and older.
Even though unpreparedness is widespread, most of the people who do not have plans in place say that they think it is important.
Why Do They Fail to Act?
The researchers asked the people who fully understood the importance of estate planning why they were dragging their feet. Some of them said that they just keep putting it on the back burner. Time passes, and months turn into years, and they never get around to it.
Others stated that they did not act because they had limited resources and they did not think it was necessary. The single most common reason that respondents gave was the fact that they simply did not know where to begin.
If you were to pass away without any estate planning documents, the situation would be called ‘intestacy’ in legal lingo. The probate court would be the overseeing body, and someone (usually the closest relative) would be appointed to act as the executor or personal representative, which is the estate administrator.
Final debts are paid during probate, and ultimately, the intestate property would be distributed to the heirs in accordance with the intestate succession laws of the state of Kansas.
Your children would be the sole inheritors if you die intestate and you are not married. Conversely, if you have no children but there is a surviving spouse, your spouse would inherit your intestate estate.
When there is a spouse and children, the surviving spouse would inherit half of the intestate property, and the children would get the other half.
Parents would be the inheritors if there is a living parent and there are no children or spouse. Siblings are first in line when there is no surviving spouse and no parents or children.
These are the most common situations that can arise, but the succession laws extend to more distant relatives if necessary.
In some rare cases, someone will die intestate with no living relatives at all. Under these circumstances, the intestate property will escheat to the state.
There was a notable case that began in the state of New York about eight years ago when a Holocaust survivor name Roman Blum passed away when he was in his 90s. He had no living family members and no will, but he did have $40 million in intestate property.
The Consequences of Inaction
Estate planning is one of the core responsibilities of adulthood. All responsible people should have estate plans in place, and it becomes an absolute must when you have a partner and/or children depending on you.
In addition to the financial part of the equation, an estate plan will include advanced directives for health care. With a living will, you state your life support preferences, and you should execute a durable power of attorney to empower an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf.
If you do nothing, your loved ones may pay the price in one way or another, and your own preferences may not be honored if you experience a medical emergency.
Take Action Today!
Our door is open if you have been frozen with inaction because you don’t know where to begin.
We can gain an understanding of your estate planning goals and explain your options to you. If you decide to go forward, we can create a custom crafted plan that is perfect for you and your family.
You can set the wheels in motion right now if you call us at 913-262-2000, and there is a contact form on this site you can use if you would prefer to send us a message.