Less than 20 percent of surveyed investors said they have updated their estate plan in at least five years.
A significant majority of Affluent investors are either “confident” (43 percent) or “very confident” (39 percent) that their estate plan reflects their intentions and will be executed accordingly, according to a new survey conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner.
So confident are these investors that less than 20 percent have updated their estate plan in at least five years, our survey found. Only 14 percent have updated their estate plan in the last six months, 13 percent in the last year, 14 percent in the last one-to-two years, 14 percent in the last two-to-five years, and 16 percent more than five years ago.
Almost one-quarter (23 percent) reported not having an estate plan.
There are many reasons why individuals might not have making an estate plan a top priority. The business of trusts, wills and beneficiaries is one that makes many people uncomfortable and all too willing to delay the conversation. Others may be confident that family members are on good enough terms that the allocation of assets will not be contentious.
A common misconception about estate planning is that it is only for the wealthy. This is reflected in our survey that finds use of a financial advisor for estate planning increases with wealth. While 31 percent of investors with a net worth of less than $100,000 said they would consult with a financial advisor about executing their estate, 39 percent of millionaires said they would do so, as did 43 percent of those with a net worth of at least $5 million.
But one procrastinates estate planning at their own peril. Without an estate plan, it is not guaranteed that assets will be distributed as to your wishes. That decision will be left to the courts. Similarly, without a will that delineates who gets what, the state will determine the transfer of your wealth.
The estate planning errors of celebrities teaches a lot about the dos and don’ts of estate planning. Read about it here.
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.