A kind of “glass half empty, glass half full” reality attaches to the world of estate planning in a general sense.

On the downside, there is this: Both anecdotal and more empirical evidence show that many Americans simply aren’t attending to estate administration details, even when they know they should be.

But then there is this, too: With a planning professional on board and offering proven advice, many of those same procrastinators in Arkansas and nationally realize that the planning realm is actually more easily traversed than they thought it would be.

A recent bank-sponsored survey of hundreds of people across the country underscores the uncertain state of unreadiness many of them are in when it comes to their implementation of a sound estate plan. That is especially concerning for relatively older people; reportedly, about 20% of Americans 65 and older are victimized by financial scammers.

There is good news amidst the clouds of uncertainty that exist for many would-be planners, though. Namely, that is that a bit of timely and focused attention in just a few core areas can go far toward ensuring the implementation of a viable planning strategy.

A financial columnist in a recent national media report on key planning steps for elder Americans to take stresses that estate administration goals can often be fully realized through focus on just these four key documents:

  • Will (the primary estate planning document in most cases)
  • Health care directive (instructions relevant to incapacity and end-of-life matters)
  • Power of attorney for financial affairs
  • Power of attorney for health concerns

Of course, that might comprise just a partial list of focal points in a given case. In many others, though, getting those documents in order will effectively promote all material planning goals.

Attorneys from an established estate planning firm can provide further information.