Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL

The Growing Problem of Unwritten Wills in Older America

Senior man signing estate planning documents.

A valid, well-constructed will can reduce the likelihood of legal challenges to an estate while protecting wishes and loved ones. During a time of grief, a clear last will and testament can ease the administrative and financial stress on families, as the deceased's wishes are clearly laid out. Knowing there's a plan in place can provide immense peace of mind to both the individual and the people dear to them.

However, more and more people are choosing to delay taking this valuable step in securing their family's future and legacy. Without a will, individuals leave their wealth and loved ones open to conflicts about asset distribution, surprise, heavy tax burdens, additional legal fees, and a long-drawn-out probate process.

Over half of adults 55+ do not have wills

Over the last three years, the share of Americans over 55 with wills decreased from 48 percent to 46 percent, according to an article citing a study.

Meanwhile, the share of people over 70 with wills or trusts to distribute their assets has steadily declined since the mid-2000s. Between 2008 and 2018, that share dropped from 70 percent to 63 percent, according to an article citing a Boston College analysis. Additionally, only 18 percent of people in that age range have the full set of recommended estate planning essentials—a will, a health care proxy and directive, and a durable power of attorney.

Many people delay estate planning and writing a will due to the perceived discomfort and complexity of the process. However, collaborating with the right estate planning attorney can transform it into an easy and painless experience where your wishes are skillfully navigated and secured for the future.

An estate planning attorney can guide you every step of the way

Although most adults know that drafting a will is an important step in managing their estate and ensuring their wishes are honored, they don't have one or have firm plans to start one. In a survey, the most common reasons for not having a will included simple procrastination, thinking there were not enough assets to make a will worthwhile, uncertainty about the estate planning process, and legal cost concerns.

However, with the guidance of an experienced and compassionate attorney, the process can become straightforward and far less intimidating. Here's what a lawyer can do to help:

  • Provide clear information. Lawyers can demystify the legal jargon and explain what is required for a will to be valid. They can also help you identify all assets—like digital assets—even if those assets are not immediately obvious.
  • Personalized consultation. Offer advice based on individual circumstances, including family structure, financial situation, and personal desires.
  • Efficient process. Lawyers can provide the necessary forms and help fill them out correctly, which speeds up the process. They can also help gather and organize all documentation needed to draft a comprehensive will.
  • Conflict minimization. Lawyers can help minimize family disputes after the client's passing by clearly outlining the distribution of assets. They can also provide guidance on how often to update the will and assist with any necessary revisions.
  • Witnessing and notarization. Lawyers can arrange for the necessary witnessing and notarization to ensure the will is legally binding.
  • Education on tax implications and legal consequences. Lawyers can explain the legal consequences of various clauses in the will and provide information about potential tax implications of how assets are distributed.

A good lawyer understands the emotional weight of writing a will and can handle conversations with compassion, ensuring that all discussions and the contents of the will are kept private.

Compassionate, easy to understand will drafting services

Lawyers play an important role in simplifying the process and making will writing as painless as possible. Their knowledge not only ensures legal validity but also provides peace of mind for clients. If you need to write or update a will in South Florida, The Levy Firm PLLC can help.

Attorney Geoff Levy is here to simplify the process of writing a will, making it less daunting and more accessible. Geoff has a knack for making estate planning a smooth process that ensures your legacy and wishes are carried out your way.

Contact our office in Fort Lauderdale for a free consultation. A member of our team can answer your questions about estate planning and wills in Florida, explain your options, and help you decide next steps. Contact us today to learn more.

Categories: Posts
Free Consultation. Contact Us Today.
Se Habla Español
Free Consultation. Contact Us Today.

If protecting your legacy and the financial security of your loved ones is a concern of yours, it’s a concern of ours. Let’s talk. Our law firm provides legal services in English and Spanish. Free consultations for new clients.

    Free ConsultationClick Here
    SE Habla Español