Financial Living Blog

29 Must-Know Statistics about Estate Planning

May 20, 2021 9:08:41 AM

Estate Planning Steps Everyone Should Take - imageDo you have a will or an estate plan? Around half of you reading this said “no.” And of those of you who said “yes,” most haven’t updated their will or plan in some time. If there’s a common unaddressed problem in the financial plans of many adults of all income levels, it’s what to do about their assets when they’re gone.

For one, people often mistakenly think of estate planning a service only for the very wealthy. However, if you’ve got a family, a home and any kind of financial account, you should definitely have an estate plan. When done properly, an estate plan can help individuals resolve everything from designating a guardian for children to passing on a family-owned small business and mitigating any intra-family conflicts.

Others may simply assume a will or estate plan is good for a lifetime. Yet, we know family changes like marriage, divorce, births and deaths are all but guaranteed. These life events can render an estate plan obsolete and unaligned to your wishes, which can prove problematic if not updated.

If you’re among the people who are on the fence about estate planning or who have done only the bare minimum, the best way to make smart decisions for your situation is armed with the facts. Compiled from various surveys and reports, here’s some current data on estate planning that may encourage you to take this crucial step.

IMPORTANT ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS – OR LACK THEREOF

67%: Percentage of Americans who die without a will or estate plan

71.6%: Percentage of Americans who do not have an up-to-date will

50%: Percentage of Americans over age 65 who have up-to-date wills

41%: Percentage of people age 55 and older who have an advance healthcare directive or healthcare proxy

33%: Percentage of people age 55 and older who have a durable power of attorney

18%: Percentage of people age 55 and older who have a will, advance healthcare directive and durable power of attorney in place

34%: Percentage of Americans without a will who have started thinking about it

22%: Percentage of those without a will who have even talked to a loved one about creating an estate plan

10%: Percentage of those without a will or trust who have sought the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser

THE WEALTHY ARE NOT BETTER PREPARED

10%: Percentage of Americans earning between $100,000-$150,000 who have an up-to-date will

15%: Percentage of Americans earning more than $150,000 who have an up-to-date will

WHY PEOPLE LACK ESTATE PLANS

47%: Percentage of people who say “they haven’t gotten around to it”

29%: Percentage of people who think they “don’t have enough assets to leave to anyone”

49%: Percentage of people who don't believe their assets are worth enough to worry about estate planning

53%: Percentage of Americans who said it's difficult to find an adviser they trust to create an estate plan

THE STRAIN OF PROBATE COURT

3-8%: Percentage of assets the average probate court process costs, consisting of personal representative fees, attorney fees, accounting fees, appraisal and business valuation fees, bond fees and other fees

6 months to 2 years: The amount of time an average modest estate can take to get through the probate process

35%: Percentage of Americans who have either personally experienced or know someone who has experienced family conflict as the result of not having an estate plan or comprehensive will

PEACE OF MIND FROM ESTATE PLANNING

71%: Percentage of Americans who say having a well thought out estate plan would help them feel like a good spouse or parent

67%: Percentage of Americans who say they are often concerned about their families’ long-term financial well-being

74%: Percentage of Americans who said they would be more likely to create an estate plan if it helped lower their families' taxes

53%: Percentage of Americans who say they would feel more successful if they created an estate plan

52%: Percentage of adults age 55 and older who say dying without affairs in order is “irresponsible”

51%: Percentage of adults age 55 and older who say “family/friends” is the most trusted source regarding end-of-life preparation

45%: Percentage of adults age 55 and older who say “a financial professional” is the most trusted source regarding end-of-life preparation

THE KNOWLEDGE GAP ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING

74%: Percentage of Americans who believe estate planning to be a confusing topic

50%: Percentage of those Americans who have a basic will that incorrectly believe wills protect them from probate court after they have passed away

47%: Percentage of Americans who knew that proper estate planning can in fact provide tax protections

42%: Percentage of Americans who knew that estate planning can be used to facilitate the transfer of a business

Fortunately, it’s never too late to get an up-to-date estate plan in place. With the help of a financial adviser and an estate attorney, you can ensure that the needs of your family and your wishes are met.

    
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