As Phoenix estate planning attorneys, the biggest myth we have to battle is the idea that “estate plans are only for wealthy people.” As it turns out, nobody knows how untrue that is better than the wealthy themselves!
In a surprising report, CNBC reveals that more than 1/3 of the wealthiest Americans have no estate plan whatsoever. No plans for tax savings and asset protection. No means for avoiding probate. No instructions as to what should happen to them, their assets, or their family members in the event of death. Zip, zilch, zero.
That’s especially shocking when you consider that these people — millionaires and billionaires — are among the most diligent, educated, and money-minded people in the world.
The problem is bigger among those who have between $1 and 5 million, whereas the $6-million-and-up club are somewhat better prepared. (Interestingly, the study also found that Democrats and Independents are less likely than Republicans to turn to a professional financial advisor if they do make an estate plan.)
Why are all these well-to-do people skimping on the one set of documents that could protect their hard-earned wealth and the family members who may someday benefit from it?
Fear is one explanation. The rich and impoverished have at least this much in common: they don’t like thinking about death.
Simple misunderstandings play a part, too. Many newly wealthy couples may see estate planning as primarily a tax-savings tool that only benefits unmarried people. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
Today’s estate planning scene is much different than that of twenty years ago. Laws have changed and, with them, strategies. The reality is that almost every adult stands to substantially benefit from a comprehensive estate plan today — whether middle class or “1 percenters,” and whether single or married. Estate planning is for everybody.
But for those of you who may have put off your own estate plan, there is some encouraging news in this CNBC report… you’re in good company! If the world’s most successful multimillionaires have made the same mistake, you’re not alone. Now it’s time to outsmart them. Give us a call today at Kamper, Estrada & Simmons, LLP to talk about how an estate plan can make a difference for you.