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What’s Most Important in Estate Planning?

What’s Most Important in Estate Planning?

Troy Werner and his family

Written by Troy Werner

Troy Werner has been an indispensable asset to The Werner Law Firm since joining in 2009, providing exceptional legal service to its clients.

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POSTED ON: October 24, 2023

In the next decade, 15% of American adults expect to receive an inheritance, according to the latest findings from the New York Life Wealth Watch survey. However, they’re not all confident they’ll be able to manage the funds. On average, adults who expect to receive an inheritance anticipate receiving $740,000. However, just 42% feel very comfortable handling that new wealth.

Another study shows that while 90% of Americans know the importance of estate planning, almost 60% haven’t taken any steps to protect their loved ones, says Kiplinger’s recent article entitled, “Are Your Heirs Prepared? A total of 58% of respondents also reported experiencing conflict or knowing someone who has, due to the absence of an estate plan or will.

That nationwide survey showed 46% of respondents admitting they didn’t know where to begin end-of-life preparations, while 72% fear they can’t afford to make a will.

Overall, women heirs responding to the New York Life survey are less confident than men. Nearly twice as many women who expect an inheritance (23%) feel uncomfortable managing it, as men who expect to receive an inheritance (12%).

Inflation and higher interest rates continue to make credit card debt an issue. Unexpected expenses and a lack of emergency savings exacerbate this. Even those who may receive an inheritance in the next ten years don’t feel confident managing it.

The research shows that people continue to be focused on the basics — paying down debt, building emergency savings and contributing to their retirement. However, it can feel incredibly difficult to plan for longer-term goals like buying a home, growing a family, or retiring when day-to-day challenges are occupying people’s time and attention.

According to the New York Life survey, 58% of those expecting an inheritance anticipate receiving it in cash, 43% expect to inherit property like a house, 28% expect investments like stocks and bonds, 24% expect proceeds from a life insurance policy, 21% expect jewelry or other family heirlooms and 14% expect to inherit an annuity. The top ways people anticipate using their inheritance are paying off debt (37%), supplementing retirement savings (35%) and preserving the inheritance to pass it down (26%).

Other LegalShield findings include that 56% of those with a spouse or partner don’t have a will, and 37% of adult children who know their parents have a will can’t locate it.

In addition, 22% with a will have never updated it and a potential harbinger of trouble ahead: 36% say there are surprises for their beneficiaries in their wills.

While estate planning can be overwhelming when being unfamiliar with it, it doesn't have to be, and the benefits for you and your family in the long term are invaluable.

The right team of professionals can guide you through the whole process and make it much more bearable. Contact The Werner Law Firm probate lawyers for a free consultation.

If you have any questions, schedule a free appointment with us through our online appointment page.

You can also read reviews from some of the hundreds of clients we have helped over the years.

Reference: Kiplinger (Oct. 1, 2023) “Are Your Heirs Prepared?

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