Estate planning is, psychologically, a topic many households prefer to put off for another day, but they do so at their own peril.
Dry or uncomfortable as the topic may be for people, the consequences of not having a will or failing to update estate plans or beneficiaries can have devastating financial consequences. Without a will, your estate can be administered in ways contrary to your wishes. In addition, your spouse or partner or children may not inherit all of your property and possessions as you had intended.
And yet for Main Street investors with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million (not including primary residence) estate planning does not rank high on their to-do list, according to a third quarter Millionaire Corner study.
More than a third (36 percent) of these households say they do not need this type of advice, while 30 percent said they will seek this advice in the future. Mass Affluent households tend to be younger than their wealthier counterparts, which suggests they think they can afford to address this issue at a later date.
Only 18 percent of respondents said they have received advice about estate planning from their primary advisor, while 16 percent have received it from someone other than their advisor. This low percentage may be in part because almost half of these investors identify themselves as self-directed, meaning they make their own investment decisions without assistance of professional counsel.
Age, not surprisingly, is a significant factor in who seeks, or does not seek estate planning advice. Seniors ages 65 and over, for example, are the more than twice as likely as those under the age of 45 to have received advice about estate planning from their primary financial advisor (25 percent vs. 10 percent).
Similarly, Millennials and Generation X-ers are more than twice as likely as seniors to put off seeking estate planning advice (42 percent vs. 16 percent).
At least a third of all age levels proclaimed they did not need this type of advice.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.