For most individuals in the bay area, complete estate planning requires a Trust, Will and Powers of Attorney for health care and property. A common misconception among many people is that estate planning is not necessary unless they have real property, “real money”, or children or that a Will alone will help one’s loved ones avoid probate. As a means to avoid probate, a complete evaluation of assets is necessary to determine if a Trust is needed. A will alone does not avoid probate!
Unfortunately, many may think of having an estate plan but rarely do they actually take the steps to initiate the plan. According to an article in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning, did you know that…
- 55% of Americans die without a will or estate plan. This means that not only are the decedent’s family members subject to probate but that distribution of the decedent’s assets are at the mercy of the California Probate Code.
- $2 billion is the estimated annual probate cost and up to $1.5 billion of that are for attorney’s fees.
- 54% of the married surveyed individuals stated that they only have a will (though not a trust).
- 47 % of the single surveyed individuals stated that they only have a will (though not a trust).
- 27% of the surveyed individuals stated that there is no “urgent need” to create a will.
- 52% of the surveyed individuals (ages 40 to 52) stated that they were having difficulties with retirement planning.
- 27% of the surveyed individuals stated that estate planning was somewhat or very difficult for them.
Based on the astounding statistics above, there is simply no reason to wait to complete your estate plan. The reality is, anyone over the age of 18 should at the very least have Powers of Attorney for health care and property, which appoints an agent to make medical or property related decisions in the event of incapacitation but while still alive.
Here at Chauvel & Glatt, we have a solid network and professional resources to guide you through your retirement plan to ensure that the process is smooth and easy. In addition, we will complete your estate plan to give you the peace of mind knowing that you have protected your assets and helped your beneficiaries avoid probate. To learn how our attorneys can assist you with your estate planning or other legal needs, contact us today.