Anyone with a family, a bank account, pets, social media accounts or assets may want to create an estate plan. Dying without a plan in place results in the state determining what happens to your assets. For example, according to intestacy laws, California would distribute your estate to qualifying family members. If there are no qualifying family members, your property goes to the state.
Most people don’t have an estate plan
Approximately 55% of Americans die without an estate plan. Their home state thus distributes their property, not necessarily in a way they would be happy with. In addition, intestacy laws are subject to change, so even if you don’t have an issue with your state’s method, it could change before you die.
Most people who have an estate plan have an out-of-date plan
Laws surrounding estate planning also change, which is why it’s necessary to check that your plan is current every year or so. Other life changes, like having a baby, having a grandchild and becoming estranged from a child, may affect how you want to distribute your estate. It’s easy to procrastinate, but you never know when you’ll die. Nearly 72% of Americans have an outdated will. Even half of Americans 65 and older don’t have an up-to-date will.
Lack of a healthcare power of attorney
Assigning a healthcare power of attorney is an important task for anyone who’s alive. This person would make healthcare decisions for you when you aren’t able to. You would most likely prefer someone you trust handling your health than someone whom you don’t trust. Only 41% of millennials have a healthcare power of attorney. Eighty-two percent of people aged 72 and older have a healthcare power of attorney.
Many people wait until they’re older to create estate plans, but the reality is you could die young. Even if you don’t die young, incapacitation is a possibility. You probably want to choose someone you trust to serve as your healthcare power of attorney sooner rather than later.