People die every day, it’s a fact of life. But what many who pass away fail to set up before their passing is either a will or estate plan, leaving their families to fumble around and potentially miss out on money or even an entire estate. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to seek legal advice from an estate lawyer or will and probate attorneys when setting up a will or estate plan, or if they end up having to seek probate and estate litigation.
According to LexisNexis, 55% of adults in the U.S. don’t have a will or estate plan in place. When looking at the Baby Boomer generation, 41% of them don’t have a will set up. An estimated 71% of those under 34 years of age don’t have a will, according to Rocket Lawyer. Whether people are choosing not to set anything up is due to fear of being taken advantage of, or they just haven’t thought about doing so, it’s something that needs to change.
That fear of being taken advantage is a real worry. There are many types of elder abuse, including financial abuse. A 2011 study carried out by MetLife Mature Market Institute found that seniors are stuck with about $2.9 billion in financial exploitation costs each year! Another survey carried out in 2010 by the Investor Protection Trust discovered that a shocking one in five seniors over the age of 65 have been a victim of financial fraud. Because of this, it’s important to seek legal advice when setting up something as serious as wills and estate plans, instead of going with any average joe off the street. And even when you find a legal professional, research them. Read reviews. When your finances are at stake, you can never be too careful.
But not everything is smooth sailing once a will or estate plan is set up. Once someone passes and the contents of their wills or estate plans need to be distributed, family members can sometimes be left waiting lengthy periods of time. Wills that are complicated and has many parts can take up to two years to probate, and simple ones can even take up to six months. This leads many families to pursue a probate attorney and probate and estate litigation, to help keep the ball rolling. The end goal, however, is that everything gets settled.
Wills and estate plans are important because they help ensure that property and possessions stay with the family, instead of being transferred to the government or other parties. Those needing help setting up a will or estate plan can reach out to a legal professional, and families caught up in the midst of waiting for a will or estate plan to settle after a relative’s death can pursue probate and estate litigation to ensure that they get everything their deceased family member left them.