Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 15.
You may not want to spend your Thanksgiving holiday doing anything other than online shopping, stuffing your face and taking a long tryptophan-induced nap, but estate planning waits for no one.
As it stands, you're already doing little to prepare for what happens after you, your parents or your grandparents pass away.
According to a recent study from the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, an estimated $59 trillion will be transferred from 93.6 million American estates between 2007 and 2061. This, alone, wouldn't be so bad if people kept track of their estate planning documents or informed potential beneficiaries about their plans.
More than half (56%) of American parents have a will or living trust document, according to a Caring.com survey of adult children. Nearly one-third of parents (27%) do not have estate documents in place and 16% of adult children are unsure if their parents do. Of those who have a will, just 40% have updated it in the last five years. Almost a quarter of adult children don't know if their parents' will has ever been updated.
Even when estate documents exist, (52%) of adult children don't know where their parents store them and 58% percent don't know what's in them.
"Wills and estate documents can be a touchy subject, but they are necessary conversations to have," said Andy Cohen, CEO of Caring.com. "Too often the surviving family members are left not knowing where to find the documents, or worse, have to go through a lengthy and expensive legal process because no documents were ever created."