OK, Boomers—it’s time to consider some wisdom from Phelps LaClair! Popular culture would have us believe that life is a never-ending party. As a second generation estate planning law firm serving Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Scottsdale, we know that you need an estate plan. Because at some point, the music stops playing and the lights go out.
Singer/songwriter Donald Fagen (Steely Dan) wrote this lyric in 1980:
“Just machines to make big decisions
programmed by fellas with compassion and vision
We’ll be clean when our work is done
we’ll be eternally free, yes, and eternally young
What a beautiful world this will be…”
Well, we all know how that works out. Those in the baby boomer generation are now in their 60s and 70s. The aches and pains that accompany old age are setting in and the reality of life is far from the wishful thinking of the song. For most of our baby boomer clients, the biggest estate planning questions are: Why do you need an estate plan? When the final curtain falls, what will happen to my family? What will happen to my stuff?
Demographics and statistics
Concerning wills and trusts, 75% of the boomer population think a will is important, yet only 60% actually have one. As we always say, failure to plan is planning to fail. Without a will, your estate is subject to probate. In this case, someone else will decide who gets your assets.
Of the 60% who do have a will or trust, the majority are college grads and post grads. For the 40% who don’t have an estate plan, the reasons vary. Fifty percent cite procrastination—they just haven’t gotten around to it. Twenty-two percent think an estate plan is only for the wealthy (it’s definitely not). The 6% who think it is too expensive have probably never considered the high cost of probate. And the remaining 6% don’t know how to go about it, so this prohibits them from ever doing it. If you fall into any of these categories, we hope you will give us a call for a free consultation so we can explain it, because having an estate plan is the best way to protect your family’s inheritance when you die.
Millenials will carry the burden of either trust administration or probate when it comes time to settle their deceased parents’ affairs. Boomer parents who know and understand the value of estate planning will have made the task for their children less burdensome and less chaotic. It will be smoother and easier, and have much more certainty of a positive outcome.
Wise boomer parents will also have thought through elder care and end-of-life issues. They will have planned for the possible need of long-term care and/or assisted living. They will have specified their end of life wishes so that millennial children will not have to make those difficult decisions. And, they will have established a medical power of attorney and a financial power of attorney to take care of decisions should they become incapacitated. All of these situations are considered and factored into a well designed estate plan.
So why do you need an estate plan? At Phelps LaClair, we know the peace and security it will bring to your family. In our 40 years of practice, we have helped thousands of families like yours find peace of mind as they live out their golden years. Let us help you! Call us today for your free, no obligation consultation. If you are a boomer without an estate plan, there is no better time than now to put a plan in place. We may not be eternally young in this life, but we can take steps to pass on a valuable legacy to the younger generations.