“National Estate Planning Awareness” 3rd Week in October

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“National Estate Planning Awareness” week is October 17th – 23rd.

According to WealthCounsel’s 2010 Industry Trends Survey, nearly 70% of respondents indicated that Americans fail to plan because they lack awareness as to why they should. At Parrish Law, we hope to reduce that alarming statistic and help create more lasting legacies!

 

 

Annual trends surveys have also found that consumers plan for a variety of reasons, but the most common are:

  • Prevent chaos among family members after death
  • Avoid lengthy and expensive probate
  • Minimize estate taxes
  • Prevent heirs from mismanaging their money
  • Provide for a special needs child

History of National Estate Planning Awareness Week

In 2008, the NAEPC Education Foundation worked with a number of Congressional leaders to pass House Resolution 1499 which proclaimed the third week in October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. According to the resolution passed by Congress, “Many Americans are unaware that lack of estate planning and financial illiteracy may cause their assets to be disposed of to unintended parties by default through the complex process of probate.” The resolution goes on to state that “careful planning can greatly assist Americans in preserving assets built over a lifetime for the benefit of family, heirs, or charities.” It is estimated that over 120 million Americans do not have proper estate plans to protect themselves or their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death. This costs many families wasted dollars and hours of hardship each year that can be minimized with proper planning.

 

Myth:  Estate Planning is Only for the Rich and the Elderly

 

Another startling statistic from the 2010 Industry Trends Survey of estate planners found that 62% of the respondents believed that many American do not plan because they have the erroneous assumption that estate planning is only for the wealthy.

Estate planning is important for adults of all ages. Read the September 27, 2011 article in U. S. News & World Report entitled “What You Need to Know About Estate Planning” which highlights the importance of single 20-somethings having an estate plan that includes a medical directive in the event of unexpected injury or illness.

We also encourage you to read this article published in the Ventura County Reporter entitled “Where There’s a Will.” In this article, WealthCounsel member Ted Muegenburg of Meta Law Inc. is extensively quoted regarding the need for estate planning.

For young families, estate planning is particularly important, as those who stand to lose the most are their young children. In the event of the death of both parents, who will care for the children? Who will handle the affairs of the estate and ensure that property will be transferred according to the wishes of the deceased parents? If there is no estate plan or will, the courts will appoint a guardian for the children, and the guardian may be an individual who does not share the values and religious beliefs of the deceased parents.

Or in the event of divorce and remarriage, how will property pass from the former spouse to the children living in a household with a stepparent?

In the event of the death of the primary breadwinner, is there sufficient life insurance coverage for purposes of income replacement to support the surviving spouse and children who were dependent upon the primary breadwinner for their daily maintenance and support.

Advanced age and substantial wealth are not the primary indicators of the need for an estate plan. Young families, especially those with children who have special medical or educational needs, should seek the advice of an estate planning attorney who can guide them in providing for the current and future needs of their young children.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll share these helpful articles and email the links.  Sign up for my blog to receive an alert via email to stay current!  More soon… Minda

  • Revocable Living Trusts: Not Just for the Rich
  • Estate Planning Considerations for Blended Families
  • Disinheriting Heirs: Why It’s Important for the Attorney to have “The Talk”
  • Your Parents’ Estate Plan

 

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