Did you know the number of young adults with a Will increased by 63% since 2020?
In 2021, 18-34 year-olds are, for the first time, more likely to have a will than 35-54 year-olds according to a recent survey by Caring.com.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the nation’s perspective on many things, and estate planning is one of them.
Caring.com’s 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study found that middle- and older- aged adults are less likely to have a Will now than they were just one year ago, while younger adults are 63% more likely to have one this year than they were pre-pandemic. The younger generation was also the most likely to cite COVID-19 as the reason they started taking estate planning seriously.
In recent years, tax policy has tended to change depending on which political party held the reins in Washington, D.C. These swings mean you need to review your estate plan regularly. At a minimum, every few years. (It’s a good idea to do that regardless of tax laws, in case there are changes in your assets, beneficiaries, or other circumstances.)
With everything we have been through in the past year, I think it would be fair to recommend that all of us have reason to review our estate planning documents. And if you don’t have any, now is the time!
Especially if you are over the age of 60.
Typically, we tend to review our estate plan when we get older or if there has been a significant change in our circumstances. However, if you are over the age 60 and you haven't updated your estate plan in many decades, it’s time to update your documents. After everything has been updated, you should continue to review your plan every two and half years.
Here are a few age ranges and what they mean in terms of estate planning:
The longer you live, it makes sense to delay Social Security until your FRA or age 70. If you qualify for Social Security, you can take it as early as age 62 or delay it as late as age 70. However, there are pros and cons for each option, and the optimal choice will be unique to you.
If you decide that waiting is the right decision, needing the money could prevent you from following that choice, but there are some actions you can take in advance that can help prevent this.
Here is some information from a recent Fox Business article you may find useful:
When do you need your estate plan to “go to work” for you? While you may think the right answer is “after I die,” the actual answer is “if you lose the ability to manage your affairs.”
Which means having the right kind of Durable Power of Attorney for Finance is vitally important. A June 2020 Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey found that only 28% of retirees have a financial power of attorney, yet many people don’t understand that there are two types of these advance directives and that each one serves a very different purpose.
Knowing how both types work is critically important, particularly in this COVID-19 environment.
Technological solutions such as e-signatures and Zoom meetings will likely remain even after social distancing restrictions are lifted and the Pandemic becomes a thing of the past.
Interactions with clients is the cornerstone of an estate planning attorney’s relationship with clients, but social distancing has limited contact with clients and, as a result, has proven that trust can be built in other ways. Frequent phone calls and emails, video calls, and, most importantly, strong, and thoughtful work providing the results our clients need, are now the basis of strong relationships with clients. Attorneys are embracing technology more and more to interact with clients and will most likely continue even after pandemic restrictions are fully lifted.