The average life expectancy in the United States at the present time is nearly 79 years, and this is comforting to think about when this birthday lies well off into the distance. But of course, it is important to remember what the word “average” means. There are those who live well beyond their 79th birthdays, and in fact the segment of the population that is at least 85 years of age is growing more rapidly than any other. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are many individuals who pass away well before they reach the age of 79.
Therefore, estate planning is not something that you should put off until you are around 75 years old based on the average life expectancy. You do not know how long you are going to live, and if you do in fact live into your late seventies and beyond, that is fantastic. But if you gamble without an estate plan when you are in your twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties it is your loved ones who are being put at risk. If there are people depending on your income, estate planning is an absolute must.
With all of the above in mind, let’s take a look at a story that dominated the entertainment news recently. 27-year-old British singer Amy Winehouse was recently found dead in her north London home, and this was a tragic end to the life of a very talented individual. She captured no fewer than five Grammy Awards and earned the love and respect of millions of fans.
Winehouse was known to have lived a freewheeling lifestyle so many would assume that she would have neglected estate planning. But in fact, she was totally prepared and her brother and her parents are legal heirs to her estate, which is estimated to be worth about $16.4 million.
There are no guarantees in life, and when you go forward without an estate plan you are putting your loved ones in a precarious situation. If you are currently unprepared, you may want to arrange for a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney and start making plans for the future.