Most American adults do not have any estate planning documents in place, and this is true even for those who are 50 years of age and older.
The popular website Caring.com conducted a survey that compared the estate planning preparedness of American adults in 2019 and 2020. This year, they have found that 47.9 percent of people who are 55 years of age and older have estate plans. Last year, the number was 60 percent, so we are trending in the wrong direction.
Young adults are much less likely to take the appropriate precautions. Only 27 percent of individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 have executed estate planning documents. As you might imagine, the figures are considerably lower for those that are younger than 35.
Now that we are all living with the coronavirus as a looming threat, estate planning is more important than ever. Procrastination was never very wise, but now, it is downright irresponsible.
While the vast majority of people who contract the virus will recover, not everyone will and an effective estate plan must include an incapacity component to address this situation. Patients sometimes become unable to communicate when they are very ill, but someone has to make health care decisions. You can account for these scenarios when you plan your estate.
One essential document is a living will. This device is used to state your preferences with regard to the use of life-sustaining measures. With a durable power of attorney for health care, you can empower someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if it becomes necessary. Under the terms of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), doctors are not allowed to share information about a patient’s condition with anyone other than the patient unless the patient has signed a HIPAA authorization. For this reason, you should include one of these release authorizations in your incapacity plan.
Estate Planning for Younger Adults
The coronavirus is just one of the conditions that can lead to an untimely death. All responsible adults should have estate plans in place during these times, and it is absolutely essential if you are the parent of dependent children.
You should carry the appropriate level of life insurance, and you should have an estate plan to facilitate transfers. There are different ways to proceed, and the ideal course of action will depend upon the circumstances.
Download Our Estate Planning Worksheet
We have developed an outstanding worksheet that you can use to learn a lot about the estate planning process. This resource is being offered free of charge, so there is no reason pass up the opportunity. To get your copy, visit our worksheet access page and follow the simple instructions.
Schedule a Consultation!
If you recognize the need for planning during these trying times, we are here to help. Our attorneys are taking all the necessary steps to keep our clients safe, so exposure concerns should not be an obstacle.
To schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer from our Charlotte, North Carolina office, give us a call at 704-944-3245 (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC). The number in Kentucky is 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY), and we have a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.