By Payton Hostens
The pandemic has created a shift in how Americans think about estate planning.
COVID-19 was a wake-up call, making people – especially those of the younger generation – more aware of their vulnerability and eager to make sure their plans are up to date.
Since 2015, Caring.com has conducted an annual survey of 2,500 Americans to determine who is engaging in estate planning and why. The survey divides the market into younger adults ages 18 to 34, middle-aged adults ages 35 to 54, and older adults ages 55 plus. The 2021 data found that for the first time, 18 to 34 year-olds were 16% more likely to have a will than those in the 35 to 54 age group.
COVID-19 was cited as the primary reason why they chose to engage in estate planning. The study also found that in 2021, 35% of people saw a greater need for estate planning. However, despite the desire to plan, two out of three American adults still don’t have a will. Procrastination, expense, and lack of understanding were cited as the main reasons why respondents have neglected estate planning.
A similar study of estate planning professionals was conducted by the Wealth Counsel in 2021: The Estate Planning Trends Survey. This survey found that since the onset of the pandemic, 54% of the professionals interviewed have seen an increase in the number of clients interested in updating their wills or trusts.
While the pandemic certainly has made its impact on estate planning, the respondents also cited a number of other things that, if implemented by the Biden Administration, may affect the industry as well. According to the survey, the three most anticipated changes to estate planning expected from the Biden Administration include an increase in income taxes, a decrease in the estate tax exemption amount, and an increase in estate tax rates.
Regardless of what phase of life you may find yourself in, estate planning can prove to be a useful tool to memorialize your wishes in the event that something were to happen to you. Consider discussing your estate planning needs with an AKC Law attorney to stay up to date and to maximize the options available to you.