With an uncertain future ahead of us, the global pandemic has made it clear that even otherwise healthy people and families need an estate plan to protect their future.
Anyone with children, significant assets like a house or car, savings, or even insurance policies can benefit from having an estate plan in place to protect their family and their belongings. The coronavirus pandemic has made this even more evident, as seemingly healthy people have become susceptible to falling ill and not recovering.
Most Americans Don’t Have a Will
According to a 2016 Gallup poll, only 44% of Americans ages 18 and older have a will. This is the lowest percentage of Americans who say they have a will in place, down from 51% in 2005 and 48% in 1990. According to the poll, most of the respondents with wills were over the age of 65 and had an income of more than $75,000 per year.
And while we tend to assign older people higher risk for contracting coronavirus, young people are still extremely susceptible. Roughly 25% of the total coronavirus cases were under the age of 50 — the population least likely to have a will or estate plan.
Estate Planning Is Important for Everyone
No one likes to think dying in a pandemic, but it’s important to have a will or estate plan in case the unthinkable happens. Otherwise, the State of Michigan will distribute your estate (children, property, and assets) to your beneficiaries based on Michigan’s inheritance laws, which don’t account for your wishes or intent.
For people who die without a will in Michigan, what happens to their estate varies depending on whether they have children or are married. For instance, if you’re married with no children and have at least one living parent, your surviving spouse would receive the first $150,000 of your intestate property and 75 percent of the remaining balance. The final 25 percent would go to your parent or parents.
Michigan’s inheritance laws are intended to make the best out of bad situations where people die with no will. They’re designed to work as well as possible for as many people as possible, but they’re still a one-size-fits all solution that can lead to bad results for many people. Creating a simple will or estate plan ensures the people or non-profits of your choice inherit exactly what you want them to.
Protect Your Assets, Children, and Family Through Estate Planning
No matter where you are in life, creating or updating your estate plan is essential. This will become especially critical as more establishments reopen and activities resume, and as we continue fighting the spread of coronavirus. Unfortunately, the misconception that only certain types of people should have an estate plan keeps many from taking the time to create one.
Coronavirus doesn’t “just” affect wealthy older people — it has the potential to affect anyone. If you have children, valuable assets like a home or vehicle, or savings but no will, it’s in your best interest to contact an estate planning attorney and learn how to protect yourself and your family’s future today.
RELATED: Michigan Estate Planning Basics: Everything You Need to Know
Write Your Will With the Law Office of Kari Santana
Whether you’re a frontline worker, considered high risk, or simply need to protect what matters most to you, it’s time to consider writing your estate plan or will. At the Law Office of Kari Santana, we have over a decade of experience helping West Michigan families like yours protect their loved ones through estate planning.
To schedule your consultation today, call us at (616) 717-5759 or use the quick and easy consultation form on this page.
Cases in the U.S. (2020, June 12). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html
Hannon, K. (2020, April 29). Estate Planning in the Time of the Coronavirus Pandemic. AARP. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/retirement/planning-for-retirement/info-2020/guide-to-virtual-wills-estate-plans.html
Jones, J. (2016, May 18). Majority in U.S. Do Not Have a Will. Gallup. Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/poll/191651/majority-not.aspx
Waldstein, D. (2020, April 8). C.D.C. Releases Early Demographic Snapshot of Worst Coronavirus Cases. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/health/coronavirus-cdc-demographic-study-hospitalizations.html
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.