Industry News

Estate planning less certain than death

Most adults lack medical, financial powers of attorney

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Death and taxes may be life's only certainties, but fewer than one-half of adults in the United States are fully preparing for those eventualities. Fifty-eight percent of adults don't have a basic will and 69 percent don't have a living will or medical directive, which explains an individual's wishes for receiving medical life support if he or she is terminally ill or permanently unconscious. What's more, only 27 percent have signed a power of attorney for healthcare and only 26 percent have signed a power of attorney for their finances, according to a small survey from, an online database of 440,000 lawyers from legal publishers LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. A will is generally the first document considered in an individual's estate plan. "An estate plan not only ensures your property eventually winds up where you want it to, but it can relieve your loved ones of the burdens of having to make difficult financial and medical decisions for you, if you're physically or m...