They say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Without question, people are always well aware of the looming April 15th tax day, and most folks plan ahead appropriately. When it comes to the other inevitability, things are entirely different, and this is a disturbing phenomenon.
Studies are conducted periodically that are intended to put a finger on the pulse of the estate planning preparedness of American adults. They consistently find that the vast majority of people in Los Angeles and the rest of the country are completely unprepared from an estate planning perspective. In all too many cases, their families pay a heavy price.
To provide some cold hard numbers, according to a Caring.com survey, only 40 percent of people in the United States have a will or a trust in place. As you might imagine, younger adults are particularly remiss. Just 22 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 36 have estate planning documents.
This may be somewhat understandable, but when you get up to the next age group, it becomes more perplexing. Generation Xers are people that are between 37 and 52 years of age. Clearly, many of these people are going to have dependent children, and actually, the same can be said for the unprepared millennials. In spite of this, 64 percent of Generation X members stated that they had made no preparations for the postmortem distribution of their assets.
It can be argued that estate planning is more important for younger adults than it is for their older counterparts. As we mentioned, many people that are in the two age groups that we looked at above are responsible for children. What would happen to the family if one income vanished?
Who would care for the children if both parents were to pass away together in an accident? This question is even more profound for single parents. Anyone that is responsible a for minor that is going without an estate plan is taking a very big risk, and there is really no reason for inaction, because estate planning assistance is readily available.
People in the older age groups are more prepared in a general sense, but still, the statistics are somewhat head scratching. About 42 percent of baby boomers that are between 53 and 71 years of age have completely ignored the estate planning responsibility. Nearly 20 percent of people that are older than 71 do not have a will or a trust.
If you pass away without any estate planning documents, it would result in the condition of intestacy. The probate court would have to step in to supervise the administration of the intestate estate. Creditors would be notified, and after final debts and taxes are paid, the remaining resources would be distributed using the intestate succession laws of the state of California.
Under these circumstances, it is possible if not likely that your true wishes would not be carried out, and the outcome could have a damaging effect.
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We are conducting a number of seminars over the coming weeks and months, and you can really learn a lot if you attend one of these sessions. They are being offered free of charge, and you can visit our seminar page to see the schedule and obtain registration information.
Schedule a Los Angeles Estate Planning Consultation!
If you digest all this information with an open mind, you have to come away with the realization that estate planning is a must for all responsible adults. We would be glad to gain an understanding of your situation and explain your options so you can make fully informed estate planning decisions. Once you have an initial plan in place, our doors will be open whenever you need to make adjustments.
You can set up a consultation appointment right now if you give us a call at 310-337-7696 or 562-346-3209. There is also a contact form this website that you can use to request an appointment through the Internet.
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