Estate planning is just one of those things where we all know that we’ll need it, but most of us don’t have it.
For years, studies have claimed that less than 50% of people have an estate plan in place at any given time, meaning that most people have done no planning. They haven’t even written a will. Were they to pass away tomorrow, state laws would have to determine how they divided their assets.
More recent studies show that this is only growing more common. Compared to 2017, a full 25% more people said they lacked a will this year. In 2017, the number of people with a will was just 42%. In 2019, it slipped to 40%. In 2020, though, there was a massive drop to 32%.
Before dismissing this as young people neglecting to make estate plan, consider that these trends also apply to middle-aged individuals and the elderly. For instance, 60% of the 55+ age group had estate plans in 2019, and that dropped to 47.9% in 2020. For the 34-55 age group, the decline was from 37% to 27.2%.
This isn’t to say that young people don’t need estate plans, which can help almost anyone, at any age, but just to show that the groups typically thought of as those who need these plans the most still often do not have anything in place.
If you do not have an estate plan, think about what will happen to your assets. Will they go to the people you want? Will they offer the maximum benefit to your family? It may be time to think about getting that plan together.