You find individuals who are in difficult positions sometimes pointing fingers at others who are enjoying a comfortable retirement or benefiting from an estate plan that was intelligently conceived by their loved ones. They say that these people are "lucky" and decry their own lack of such luck. But in reality, those who have no worries simply benefited from proactive, pragmatic planning. And of course they had the self-discipline to stick to the plan. It is as simple as that.
Our law firm understands this to be true and we try to educate people and encourage them to take action so that they can avoid the pitfalls that invariably accompany a lack of preparation. Unfortunately, a very high percentage of Americans ignore this advice and go through life without making important preparations for the future.
The results of a Harris telephone survey that was released at the end of 2009 shed some light on the subject. A total of 1,022 adults responded, and a mere 35% had composed a last will to elucidate their final wishes. Just 29% of the people who were interviewed said that they had a living will in place.
Merely 24% of people under 35 had executed at least one of the commonly recommended estate planning documents, and of course you would expect younger people to be less prepared. However, a surprisingly high 23% of people surveyed who were over the age of 55 had executed no estate planning documents at all.
Clearly, a lack of appropriate planning has reached epidemic proportions. When you shirk this basic adult responsibility, for the most part it is your family members who are going to suffer after your death or incapacity. This is a serious matter, and if you do not presently have at least a basic estate plan in place, do take action and arrange for a consultation with an estate planning attorney before it's too late.