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The State of Estate Planning in America: A Disconnect Between Importance and Action

lady liberty holding money, discussion about estate planning in America

Have you ever thought about what happens to your belongings, assets and loved ones after you're gone? If not, you're part of a surprisingly large group. A recent survey by FreeWill revealed a significant disconnect between awareness and action. While a whopping 69% of Americans say they understand the importance of estate planning, only 26% actually have a plan in place. This means a vast majority of people understand the value of estate planning but fail to take the crucial step of securing their future.

Why the Disconnect?

There are several reasons why people put off estate planning:

  • Age Misconception: Many people, especially younger adults (only 24% of 18-34 year olds have a plan), believe they're too young to worry about estate planning.

  • Lack of Knowledge: Some don't know where to start (42% of respondents cited this as a barrier) or mistakenly believe the process is complex and expensive.

  • Wealth Misunderstanding: Many people mistakenly believe they need to be wealthy to need an estate plan.

The Consequences of Inaction:

Neglecting your estate plan can have serious consequences for your family, including:

  • Family Conflict: Without a clear plan, your loved ones may disagree about how your assets should be distributed, leading to conflict and resentment.

  • Unintended Heirs: Assets could end up going to people you wouldn't have chosen, simply because of state laws.

  • Uncertainty for Minor Children: If you have minor children and haven't designated a guardian in your estate plan, the court will decide who raises them, potentially leading to a lengthy and stressful process for your children.

  • Probate Court: Probate Court can be costly and time-consuming for your family.

The Power of Early Planning and Financial Guidance:

The good news is, you can bridge this gap and ensure your wishes are carried out. Here's what the FreeWill study tells us:

  • Start Early & Work with Professionals: Regardless of age or wealth, starting the conversation early is key. The study found that those with financial advisors are four times more likely to have an estate plan. Financial advisors can guide you through the process and ensure your plan aligns with your overall financial goals.

  • The Gender Gap: The survey revealed a gender gap, with men more likely to have a plan and view it as important. At Krugler Law, we understand the unique needs of women in estate planning and can tailor our approach accordingly.

  • Shifting Wealth Transfer: Gone are the days when inheritance was the only way wealth flowed between generations. Parents are increasingly helping their adult children financially, with education, weddings, and even homes. We can help you navigate this evolving landscape of intergenerational wealth transfer.

How We Can Help You Secure Your Future:

We understand that estate planning can feel overwhelming.  That's why we offer a free consultation to discuss your specific situation and answer any questions you may have. We'll work collaboratively with you and, if needed, your financial advisor to create a personalized estate plan that:

  • Protects your loved ones by ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

  • Minimizes estate taxes to maximize the inheritance your loved ones receive.

  • Gives you peace of mind, knowing your wishes will be respected, and your loved ones will be cared for.

Don't wait until it's too late. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and take control of your future.

In addition to the above, consider these specific planning points:

  • Do you have a family? An estate plan can designate guardians for minor children and ensure your spouse is taken care of.

  • Do you have pets? We can help you include pet trusts or specific instructions in your will to ensure their well-being.

  • Do you have a complex financial situation? We can help you navigate tax implications and legal considerations to ensure your assets are distributed efficiently.

By planning ahead, you can avoid probate court hassles, minimize taxes, and give your loved ones the peace of mind they deserve. Contact Krugler Law today and let us help you build a secure legacy for yourself and your family.


Based on findings from a custom survey conducted by OnePoll on March 3-March 8, 2024, assessing a general population sample of 2,000 U.S. adults.

About FreeWill

FreeWill is a social-good enterprise offering online tools that empower Americans to address commonly faced estate planning needs and make charitable donations in tax-advantaged ways, all for free. Through its partnerships with 1,500+ nonprofits who understand that major gifts often are part of estate plans, the company is also able to provide a comprehensive suite of estate planning and related tools to consumers free of cost. To date, FreeWill has generated more than $10 billion in planned and real-time gifts for more than 10,000 nonprofits while helping more than 1,000,000 consumers create wills and plan their estates.


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