In recognition of National Estate Planning Awareness Week, taking place during the third week of October, we at McBrien Armistead Law Group are joining the conversation to stress the importance of estate planning and offer valuable insights on this critical process.
A startling statistic reveals that over 120 million Americans do not have up-to-date estate plans to safeguard themselves or their loved ones in sickness, accidents, or untimely death. This figure is especially concerning given that two-thirds of Americans over 65 lack the knowledge necessary for adequate retirement planning. Further, nearly half of all Americans are unfamiliar with essential retirement tools, such as a 401(k) plan.
Estate planning awareness is crucial in addressing these gaps. Careful estate planning can significantly assist in preserving the assets built over a lifetime for the benefit of family, heirs, or charities. It’s an essential process that involves many considerations, including safekeeping of important documents, documentation of assets, understanding the operation of law in various states, preparation of legal instruments, insurance, availability of trust arrangements, charitable giving, inter vivos care of the benefactor, and more.
A well-structured estate plan encourages timely decisions about how to hold title to certain assets, the designation of beneficiaries, and the possible transfer of assets during one’s lifetime. Unfortunately, many Americans are unaware that a lack of estate planning and financial illiteracy may cause their assets to be disposed of to unintended parties by default through the complex probate process.
However, there are alternatives to the disposition of assets after death, such as planned gift-giving, which can achieve a benefactor’s goal of providing for his or her family and favorite charities. Careful planning can prevent family members or other beneficiaries from being subjected to complex legal and administrative processes requiring significant expenditure of time, reducing confusion or even animosity among family members or other heirs upon the death of a loved one.
Additionally, estate planning can guide important decisions regarding organ donation and the use of life support functions.
This National Estate Planning Awareness Week, we urge all Americans to take the time to understand and plan their estates. This event aims to distribute estate planning information to all Americans, stressing the importance of being prepared for any eventuality.
At McBrien Armistead Law Group, we are committed to assisting you in navigating the intricacies of estate planning, ensuring that your assets are protected and your wishes are respected. Our team of expert attorneys can guide you through the process, offering personalized solutions tailored to your unique circumstances and needs.
Remember, estate planning is not just for the wealthy but for everyone. It’s about ensuring your family’s future is secure, and your legacy endures. So, this Estate Planning Awareness Week, let’s pledge to plan, protect, and preserve because a future you’ve planned is a future secured.