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Survey: two-thirds of Americans lack an estate plan

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2022 | Estate Planning

There are a lot of things that most of us know are good for us, but we still struggle to get around to doing. Estate planning is one of those things. Still, it might come as a shock to learn that up to two-thirds of Americans don’t have an estate plan.

This figure comes from a survey conducted by an investment banking company, which interviewed 2,094 people. Only about 33 percent of respondents said they even had a basic estate plan in place. When divided by sex, just 28 percent of women reported having a plan, compared to 59 percent of men.

Most people know what a will is but might not understand the other estate planning tools available. In the survey, 68 percent admitted they did not know what a health care proxy (also known as an advance directive) is. Only about a third of respondents had a health care proxy. Interestingly, respondents in the Gen Z generation were more likely to have one than millennials and Gen Xers.

Most respondents without an estate plan gave one of two explanations: either they had not gotten around to it, or they believed they did not have enough wealth to make estate planning worthwhile.

Estate planning is for everyone

Many young people assume they have plenty of time to set up their estate plan. But you never know what will happen in the future. Even though you are healthy now, a car accident or sudden illness can leave you incapacitated or even take your life. With the right planning, everything will be handled according to your wishes.

And even if you are just starting out in your career and have not bought a house or built up a lot in retirement savings yet, estate planning is still a good idea. The survey mentioned health care proxies. Having a health care proxy and living will in place ensures that someone you trust will carry out your wishes regarding life-extending interventions like artificial respirators and feeding tubes if you are ever in an emergency situation but unable to speak to your doctors. This is just an example of the benefits of estate planning that Westchester County residents of any age can enjoy.