A huge part of estate planning is making sure that you pass on your family’s wealth through the generations. That allows it to build and helps your descendants prosper. However, many black Americans don’t feel like they have the type of wealth that needs a will to pass on — or they simply don’t think about the need for a will and other end-of-life documents.
The lack of a will and other end-of-life documents (like powers of attorney and living wills) affects black people of all socioeconomic classes. You only have to look at the chaos that followed the deaths of black celebrities like Prince and Aretha Franklin to understand how important clearly defined estate plans can be to their heirs — yet neither had taken the necessary legal steps to get their estates in order.
According to experts in the field, black Americans are 50% less likely to have the right end-of-life documents in place than other ethnic groups. This creates chaos that goes well beyond mere financial issues.
For example, when someone dies without a will or a will isn’t updated, that often leads to family fights that make it impossible for loved ones to grieve their loss. If a dying individual lacks powers of attorney, there is often confusion and conflict surrounding their wishes. The absence of a living will can make it difficult for a dying loved one to get a death with dignity.
If you’re uncertain what you need to do to get your estate in order, an attorney can help you think through the various concerns that you’re facing and come to some decisions. He or she can then help craft the appropriate legal documents to get everything in order for the future.