If you search the Internet, you’ll find article after article about Baby Boomers who have their head in the sand when it comes to setting up an estate plan.
The Baby Boomer generation is like no other. Because of the unique nature of this demographic, comprised of 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964, inclusive, it has specific estate planning needs. However, a surprisingly large proportion of Boomers do not have estate plans, even though every year about 5 million Boomers turn 65.
According to a 2010 study, less than half of Americans age 65 or older have an estate plan in place. Some use the excuse of the economy; some say that they believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy; or, for fear of planning for their deaths. What many Boomers don’t realize is that an estate plan can protect you not only while you’re alive (in terms of avoiding conservatorship in the event of mental incapacity), it can also protect your legacy after you die (in terms of avoiding putting your estate through probate).
Boomers have dealt with many lifestyle changes over the course of their lives. Among these are increased divorce rates, having adult children (and grandchildren!), families in different parts of the country, and increased lifespans due to advancements in medicine. In light of this, it is important to be aware of the lifetime value of the estate planning process. A well-crafted estate plan is one that has built-in protections for you during your lifetime and for your family after your death.
Boomers are both one of the most optimistic generations as well as one of the most skeptical (in terms of what others tell them to do). With that in mind, the perfect estate plan for many Boomers is a comprehensive one that will give them security for their future, as well as minimize probate and administrative costs so that they can pass on legacies to their loved ones. For example, a good estate plan will include long-term care provisions, which can give Boomers the control they want over their lives in the event that they have a long-term illness or disability.
If you are a Boomer who needs to put a plan in place, or who has a plan but it’s been a while since it was last reviewed, then the time to do so is now! The more proactive you are about your planning, the better your results will be, not only for yourselves but also for your families.