An estate plan lays out how you want your assets handled at your death or when you’re physically or mentally incapacitated. No wonder most people procrastinate creating one.
“It’s shocking how many people don’t have their documents in order,” says Bruce Tannahill, a director of estate planning with MassMutual. Only one out of three Americans has an estate plan, according to a 2023 survey from senior living directory service Caring.com.
While an estate plan cannot prevent death or illness, it can protect your family from stress, grief and emotional fallout. “Once you’re gone, it’s a really hard time for your family. People don’t always react in the best ways,” says Anne Rhodes, an executive with Wealth.com, which provides estate planning software for financial advisors. “Your estate plan gives them clarity on what to do and a chance to move on.”