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The decline in estate planning among older Americans

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | wills and trusts | 0 comments

In California, estate planning is essential to ensure the financial well-being of yourself and your loved ones. However, many older Americans lack a will or other estate plan. The following insights provide an understanding of some perennial causes and a new trend triggered by the growing diversity of Americans.

Terminology and Diversity

One of the reasons older Americans are doing less estate planning has to do with a lack of information in easy-to-understand format. Seniors often misunderstand estate planning, wills, and trusts and assume a handwritten will is sufficient. Black and Hispanic families leave wills and inheritances less often than non-Hispanic whites, leading to a significant disparity.

Avoiding the unpleasant

Planning for your death is unpleasant and may involve difficult conversations that older individuals do not feel prepared to have with their loved ones. Planning your estate means acknowledging your mortality, which may strike fear in many seniors. Older family members may also anticipate disputes over their assets and avoid estate planning because they do not know how to address this issue.

The cost

When considering the typically one-time cost to establish a will, it seems that the larger benefits of estate planning easily outweigh the expense. Estate planning may deter older people who already want to conserve their money. However, even personal belongings can become a source of conflict among family members if a parent dies without a will.

Dynamics of the family

Conflict over assets can cause anxiety and avoidance of estate planning. Each state has different laws regarding inheritance. Without a will, matters can be complicated, especially if step-family or unmarried partners are involved.

Estate planning is a critical piece of financial preparedness. Taking action can secure your legacy and give your loved ones the peace of mind they deserve.