End-of-life planning isn’t something most people enjoy thinking about, but it is so critical. A new survey from Caring.com shows that only 42% of U.S. adults currently have a will or living trust, and that figure is even lower – 36% – for those with children under the age of 18.
The most common excuse for not having a will or living trust is, “I just haven’t gotten around to it.” Face this uncomfortable reality for the ones you love.
Having a will is important to ensure that after your death your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Certain accounts take precedence over a will, as is the case if you jointly own a home or a bank account. In those instances, the house and the funds in the account will go to the joint holder — even if your will directs otherwise. Retirement accounts and life insurance policies are distributed to the beneficiaries you designate, so it is important to keep them up-to-date as well.
Health care powers of attorney let you designate a person to make medical decisions for you when you are unable. These documents are more common than wills, the survey found, with over half of adults having one set up.
Older people are more likely to have a health care power of attorney, but everyone 18 or older should have one. For instance, if you have a child away at college, having these documents prepared for them can help make sure you are able to discuss their treatment should an emergency arise.
The complexity and cost of setting up a will or living trust depends on how complex your circumstances and assets are. Our experienced team at Herndon, Coleman, Brading, & McKee can help.