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Why declining estate planning rates are a concern

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Recent studies indicate a significant downturn in estate planning across various groups, raising alarms about the potential consequences for asset distribution and legal issues after one’s passing. This trend is evident in both Crestview and DeFuniak Springs, Florida, where the communities need to recognize the importance of updated and thorough estate planning.

Details behind the decline

According to a survey discussed in Forbes, the decrease in estate planning is notable among several key demographics:

  • Older Americans: There’s a noticeable drop in estate planning activities among this group, which could lead to complications later in life when asset transfer becomes necessary.
  • Business owners: Approximately 85% have not updated their estate plans to reflect current tax laws or personal changes, which could lead to unwanted outcomes.
  • Art collectors: A mere 10% have made arrangements for their collections, posing risks of family disputes or mismanagement.
  • Overall trends: A 6% overall decline has been observed, with a significant 16% reduction among lower-income individuals. Interestingly, young adults aged 18-34 have maintained steady planning rates.

The risks of having an outdated plan (or no plan at all)

Even if you currently have a will or trust, it might not sufficiently address your needs:

  • Changes in Circumstances: Life changes such as marriages, divorces, births, and deaths can render old plans ineffective if they are not regularly updated.
  • Legal and Tax Complications: Outdated documents may not comply with current laws, potentially leading to higher taxes or prolonged legal battles for your heirs.

Even worse is to die without any estate plan. This is called dying intestate, and it means the deceased’s assets get distributed according to state law and mostly must pass through probate. This could result in a very different outcome than you would prefer.

The importance of a comprehensive estate plan

The declining rates of estate planning are a pressing concern that requires immediate attention. Residents of Crestview and DeFuniak Springs should consider the long-term benefits of a comprehensive estate plan. By working with a knowledgeable attorney, you can provide your family the peace of mind and clarity that comes with knowing your affairs are in order, making it the best legacy you can leave behind.

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