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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, February 13, 2017

Do You Have a Will?

 

We have asked that question many times here in these articles, and it’s a common query whenever we have the opportunity to speak to local groups.

It is startling to hear the response. Most of the people we talk to don’t have a will. And that corresponds with a number of national surveys, including one report released in the last few days by California-based Caring.com.

The study’s results indicate that only 42 percent of adults in the United States have estate-planning documents in place. While the percentages rise as people age, these remain alarming figures.

The only age group even close to having these vital documents in place is people 72 or older. A full 81 percent of this age group has done appropriate estate planning. Here is the breakdown for other age groups: Millennials (18-36) – 20 percent, Generation X (37-52) – 36 percent, Baby Boomers (53-71) – 58 percent.

For parents with children under 18, only 36 percent have prepared wills or living trusts.

The most common reasons cited in the report for not having prepared estate-planning documents are: “I just haven’t gotten around to it,” or “I don’t have enough assets to leave anyone.”

But having these documents prepared is not just the responsibility of older people or those with wealth. While we all want to pass away when we’re old, that does not always happen. Even if you have limited assets, if you have young children, it is critical to plan for their future.

Plus if you are fortunate to live a long and healthy life, you want to leave clear directions for those who will care for you as you age and become unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself.

If you have not prepared estate-planning documents, there is no better time than right now. If you have young children, it is a gift to them. And if you are getting older, it is also a gift for those who may need to care for you.


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