A recent survey seems to demonstrate a lack of desire to create, or even get information about, an estate plan. The survey participants, who had a net worth between $100,000 and $1,000,000 (exclusive of their primary residence), may like to make money today but don’t seem to realize the potential peril that could accompany the failure to make an estate plan.
The survey consisted of one main question – whether he or she had received any estate planning advice from their primary advisor – and two follow-up questions to determine if he or she would or would not seek out estate planning advice in the future.
When viewed as a whole, only 18% of the respondents had received advice concerning estate planning. Surprisingly, only 25% of respondents in the 65-and-over age group said that they had received advice. The number of respondents under the age of 54 that had received advice was a little less than half the number of seniors, coming in at 12%.
When respondents were asked the follow-up questions, again, those in the 65-and-over age group continued to surprise: only 16% said that they will seek advice, whereas nearly three times that number (42%) said that they would not seek advice. Contrary to those numbers, approximately 42% of respondents under the age of 54 said that they will seek advice in the future, and only about one-third said that they would not seek advice.
These unfortunate statistics are indicative of both the emotional problem with considering estate planning, i.e. denial of one’s own death, and the low level of education about the benefits of good and comprehensive estate planning. It is the rare person who takes the time to consider and create an estate plan who believes that it was a waste of money. The vast majority of those with plans speak of their peace of mind about knowing that they took control of their future.