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A shocking percentage of adults do not have a will or estate plan

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2024 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Most Oklahomans understand that estate planning is an important process. They know that a will protects their loved ones, and that other estate planning documents can protect them as well. Especially if someone has children or significant personal property, they likely understand the importance of establishing and estate plan outlining their wishes regarding their legacy and the support of their dependents. Although almost any adult could benefit from creating an estate plan, quite a few never get around to doing so.

In fact, a majority of adults in the United States do not have any estate planning documents on record. If they die suddenly or experience a personal emergency, they may not have any protection or control over the situation. How common is the failure to estate plan?

Many adults simply procrastinate too long

The failure to create an estate plan affects people in all different life circumstances, including those with valuable property and vulnerable family members. People of either sex, any race and any age may continually defer the creation of an estate plan.

According to recent research, roughly two-thirds of American adults have no estate plan. They do not have a will, a trust or any other documents that can take effect during their incapacitation or after their death. These individuals are very vulnerable if they experience a medical emergency. Their closest family members could be vulnerable if they die or experience long-term incapacitation.

Only about a third of adults in Oklahoma have estate plans in place, and many of those adults have gone years without reviewing and updating their documents. Outdated documents are at risk of challenges brought by family members or beneficiaries, who might claim that the documents are inaccurate or invalid. The regular review and modification of estate planning paperwork can be as important as the initial creation of documents.

Without estate planning documents, individuals who die in Oklahoma have no control over what happens with their property. State law distributes their possessions among their family members without any input regarding their wishes. For this reason and a host of others, drafting testamentary and living documents can protect people from emergencies and give them control over the legacy that they leave when they die.