Americans Rushed to Prepare Wills and Trusts Last Year

COVID-19 changed nearly every aspect of life in the United States. To protect their families, people changed the way they work, shop, and interact with others. The pandemic also changed the way we view our own mortality: death is an unavoidable reality and can come at any stage in life. As the result of this collective realization, more Americans looked into life insurance, wills, and trusts last year.

The coronavirus outbreak also changed who was considering steps to preserve their family’s finances – the number of life insurance applications filed by Americans under the age of 44 jumped by nearly 8 percent in 2020, according to the MIB Group Life Index. Life insurance applications had been mostly down for this age group over the past few years, making the sharp increase of 7.9 percent quite noticeable.

Wills & Trust on the Rise

The number of young Americans looking into wills and trusts rose too. In fact, CNBC says that 32 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 drafted wills specifically as a response to COVID-19, and an astonishing 21 percent of those who drew up the paperwork did so because they knew someone who contracted coronavirus.

A number of factors contributed to the spike, of course, but the pandemic played a major role in getting people to consider their own mortality, and to think about how their death could affect their family financially. Hospitalization alone could cost range from $51,000 to $78,000; the average funeral in California costs more than $6,723. With the costs of hospitalization and funeral expenses, death COVID-19 heaps financial havoc on families already grieving from the loss of a loved one, particularly if the lost family member was a breadwinner. With this in mind, many younger adults began to explore ways to protect their family finances through wills and trusts.

Beware of Assumptions

While more people are planning their estate now more than ever, most Americans still do not have a last will and testament. Many assume that their money will automatically go to their next of kin or that they do not have enough assets to warrant estate planning – and both assumptions are wrong. Estate planning through wills and trusts can help nearly every family get the money they need and deserve during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Estate planning has become an important part of everyday life for people of all ages throughout the pandemic and for years to come. For more information about preparing wills and trusts, or for guidance on estate planning, contact your Sonoma County lawyer, Charles D. Stark. Our law practice focuses on wills and trusts, estate planning, and probate in Sonoma County, California.

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