Why Does the Average American Need an Estate Plan?

Home » Blog » Why Does the Average American Need an Estate Plan?
Estate Plan
KS and MO Attorney Kyle E Krull

Written by Kyle Krull

Attorney & Counsellor at Law Kyle Krull is president of the Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull, P.A., an Estate Planning Law Firm located in Overland Park, KS. Estate Planning Attorney Kyle Krull has provided continuing education instruction to attorneys, accountants, and financial professionals at local, state, and national programs.

Get To Know Kyle!
POSTED ON: March 14, 2024

Creating an estate plan is valuable for the average American not just the super wealthy.

All American adults should have an estate plan in place.

Many people find viewing experiences from the perspective of another to be a challenge.

It can be easy for people to think they are the center of the world.

Thinking about a time past their own lifetimes is particularly challenging.

Anyone who has been to a funeral knows the world keeps turning even after the death of a very dear loved one.

Because death is inescapable and your loved ones will be forced to navigate life without you, estate planning is essential for every adult American.

According to a recent Forbes article titled "10 Estate Planning Myths You Shouldn't Believe," common misconceptions often lead to people neglecting estate planning.

Why Do Most Americans Not Have an Estate Plan?

An estate plan provides protections.

Every adult American would benefit from an estate plan.

Many people mistakenly believe estate planning is for those with fame, fortune, or complex businesses.

With this mindset, it would make sense why more than half of Americans do not have a last will and testament.

The problem is that all individuals aged 18 or older should have an estate plan.

While you cannot predict the future, you can plan for it.

To protect yourself and your loved ones, it is important to stop procrastinating and make this planning a priority in your busy life.

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

In America, adulthood is legally recognized at age 18.

When this occurs, the role of parents shifts.

Parents no longer have the right to view the medical and educational records of their children and make legal decisions on their behalf.

Without estate planning, adult children limit the support they could receive from parents if something were to happen to them through illness or injury.

Those who have property, are married or have children should work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create legal documents for distributing assets after death.

A comprehensive estate plan addresses preparations for incapacity and death.

Money and Property Can Go to Unintended People If You Have No Plan.

While the rich may feel the stakes are high for using estate planning to address taxes and wealth transfer, an estate plan can benefit everyone.

Whether you are a breadwinner or not, your death will be felt emotionally and financially by your loved ones.

Dying intestate leaves the probate court with the responsibility of identifying and naming heirs according to the default laws of the state.

This can leave your assets in limbo and unable to be used by your spouse or loved ones to pay bills or make payments associated with your death.


If you want to control who receives your assets and make the transfer more efficient, you should prioritize creating an estate plan.

Courts Could Decide Who Cares for You or Your Minor Children If You Cannot.

Do you have minor children?

If yes, you likely constantly feel the weight of responsibility for providing for their needs.

Although thinking about an accident or illness suddenly taking you from them is unpleasant, it is something all parents should address through estate planning.

You are likely thoughtful about who you choose to babysit for your children.

Consequently, you probably do not want just anybody rearing your children to adulthood.

With your last will and testament, you can designate the guardians for your minor children should they be left orphaned.

If you neglect this, a judge will decide without understanding your values and wishes.

Your Spouse or Partner May Be Unable to Make Financial or Medical Decisions.

If you have any assets to your name, you should have a financial power of attorney.

This allows you to name someone to make financial decisions and take action on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

Whether single or married, a durable power of attorney provides authority for managing assets not jointly owned.

Without a financial power of attorney, the courts will choose a conservator for your finances.

In addition to financial power of attorney documents, single and married individuals should have health care directives.

Being married does not automatically give your spouse the authority to speak with your doctors or make medical care decisions if necessary.

State and federal laws like the HIPAA legislation provide protections for individuals' health information.

This means legal documentation is required to authorize health and medical information sharing.

A medical power of attorney appoints an individual as your health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

You should document your wishes regarding treatments, life support, and end-of-life care so your agents can make informed decisions.

Your Family Could Fight over Your Stuff.

Inheritances can lead to family arguments.

Siblings often have varying definitions of fairness.

This can lead to estate battles and claims from those who believe they deserve a portion of the inheritance.

While many celebrities have been found to have insufficient estate planning to ward off estate contests, this can happen to the average American in Overland Park, Kansas, as well.

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan lets you carefully designate the transfer or property and proactively address possible family conflicts.

How Can People of All Ages and Income Levels Benefit from Creating Estate Plans?

You do not need a large net worth to have an estate plan.

All adults will need someone to act on their behalf to pay bills and make medical decisions should they become incapacitated.

Estate planning allows you to make final arrangements, provide for loved ones or charities, minimize family conflict, and pass assets tax-efficiently.

To take action on your estate plan, schedule a consultation and become a client of Harvest Law KC.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice concerning any particular issue or problem. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship between Harvest Law KC and the reader.

Share This Post

Get All The Marketing Updates

Blog Silos

Recent Posts

Subscribe to our e-Newsletter and Weekly Blog Digest

Ready to schedule your consultation?

Get Started Now With Harvest Law KC

Get Started Now

REMEMBER: “The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.”
This statement is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Missouri.

Harvest Law KC

5209 W 164th St
Overland Park, KS 66085

Get Directions
IMS - Estate Planning and Elder Law Practice Growth Advisors
Powered by