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Estate planning not a priority for high number of Americans

Estate plans are one of the most effective tools for individuals in Oklahoma to handle their finances and assets both before and after death. Despite this, the vast majority of Americans still lack even a basic will. Ignoring estate planning needs could mean more than just the state distributing a person's assets as it seems fit; it could also mean a headache for surviving loved ones.

Only 36 percent of people in America have a will. Many individuals believe that there is no rush to make a will or any type of estate plan, as it will not be needed until much farther in the future. Perhaps even more upsetting is the 15 percent of people without a will who insist that they simply have no need whatsoever for any type of will or estate plan.

There are very real and serious concerns that arise when a person passes away without a will. Parents might not have wished for certain assets or finances to be passed along to their adult children, which is not uncommon among some of the more well-known billionaires, including Bill Gates. Inheritances for adult children are certainly not the only worry, as estate plans can be used to guarantee the continued well-being and care of minor children.

Of course, parents are not the only adults in Oklahoma who can reap the benefits of a comprehensive estate plan. Failing to create a will can leave an estate vulnerable to estate taxes and a distribution of assets that does not align with an individual's wishes. In estate planning, creating wills, trusts and powers of attorney can help people ensure that their last wishes are respected and upheld.

Source: CBS Boston, "Are You Over The Hill: Your Legacy", Dee Lee, Aug. 4, 2016

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