This week, October 21-27, is National Estate Planning Awareness Week! Have you taken the time to put make your own estate planning arrangements? Even if you have, when is the last time you reviewed your decisions to ensure they are still in line with your wishes and life circumstances?
According to a 2011 industry trends survey of estate planners conducted by WealthCounsel, one of the most common reasons clients engage in estate planning is to spare their family members and heirs the chaos and conflict that often occurs after their death. Another common reason that consumers engage in planning is to protect their children from mismanaging their inheritance, or to shield their children’s inheritance from creditors.
Sadly, it is widely acknowledged that estate planning is one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management. More than 120 million Americans do not have proper estate plans to protect themselves or their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death. This costs many families wasted dollars and unnecessary hardship that can be minimized with proper planning.
In 2008, the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC) worked with Congress to pass a resolution proclaiming the third week in October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. The resolution noted that “Many Americans are unaware that lack of estate planning and financial illiteracy may cause their assets to be disposed of to unintended parties by default through the complex process of probate.”
Estate planning is a thoughtful process and not merely a single legal transaction. Take the time to properly prepare your own estate plan with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to ensure you and your family are properly protected in your time of need.