I was taking a close look at a comprehensive Estate Planning Survey that was completed recently. It showed me that America has a long way to go when it comes to estate planning. The following are a few stats:
50% of America thinks estate planning is for the ultra-rich. America is wrong on this one. I spent my entire day dealing with issues like losing assets to nursing home expenses, special needs children, bequests to nieces and nephews for education, avoiding probate, dealing with a child who has no communication with parents, etc.
A little more than 50% have planned. About 40% of American adults will dispose of their estate through a Will. About 20% will dispose of their estate through a trust. This means there are tens of millions of estates out there that will keep our court system free for all of the other crazy legal issues that exist in America today.
About 50% of the people who set up trust do so to avoid family conflict. This is a good reason. The more you can arrange your affairs to avoid delay, lawyers, judges, courts, excessive expense, and executor fees, the more likely you will diminish the likelihood that your children or heirs will wind up in war against each other.
About 50% of those that have a Will think that probate will be avoided. "Where there's a Will, there's a probate." I hear it all the time. "I thought if I had a Will then there would be no probate!" A Will requires a probate if you own assets in your name when you die. Taking assets out of your name (and putting them in a trust, for example) eliminates the probate process when you die.
75% of America is confused when it comes to estate planning. Perhaps more should read or watch my stuff.