Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"National Estate Planning Awareness Week"

On September 12, 2008, the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils and the NAEPC Foundation issued a Press Release entitled "National Estate Planning Awareness Week Declared" announcing "the third full week in October of each calendar year to be National Estate Planning Awareness Week."

Designating such a week for public education about effective estate planning is consistent with the
mission statement of NAEPC, as noted in the Press Release:

The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils and The NAEPC Foundation work together to provide continuing education for our 26,000 local council member professionals from all the disciplines involved in estate planning and to encourage multi-disciplinary cooperation so all the professionals (law, accounting, life insurance professional, trust administration and financial planning) review the plan to be sure that no aspect has been neglected. * * *
A problem recognized by NAEPC is that "[e]state planning is consistently identified as a tool lacking in the majority of American households."

More specifically, the Press Release noted a 2004 survey from Lawyers.com finding that:
58 percent of Americans lack a basic will, generally considered to be the first document in an individual's estate plan.

In addition, 69 percent lack a
living will or medical directive (both documents communicate an individuals wishes for medical life support if that person is terminally ill or permanently unconscious).

Only one-in-five, or 21%, have created a trust as a part of his/her estate plan.

Most Americans cite insufficient assets or not being old enough as their reason for not creating an estate plan. * * *
See also: EE&F Law Blog posting "Surveys Show Most Lack Last Will" (07/03/08).

In response, NAEPC devised an annual Estate Planning Awareness Week, with locally focused Estate Planning Days, for promotion by the hundreds of its affiliated estate planning councils located throughout the United States.

In an effort to combat this often-missed but critically important process, these two organizations have teamed up to encourage their network of 200+ affiliated local estate planning councils to present publicly-focused Estate Planning Day programs between October 20, 2008 and October 26, 2008. * * *
The Press Release urges consumers to "[c]heck with your local estate planning council to see if it will be hosting such a program this year. * * *

Searching NAEPC's website reveals these fourteen regional estate planning councils in Pennsylvania:
There are other local, independent estate planning councils in Pennsylvania not affiliated with NAEPC that perform much the same mission among member professionals and in their communities.

All estate planning councils in Pennsylvania -- whether or not affiliated with NAEPC -- have been listed in the sidebar of this Blog since its inception.

NAEPC's approach for the initial, annual National Estate Planning Awareness Week, including a locally-designated Estate Planning Day, is explained in its planning materials.

We provide materials for use by our 200+ local estate planning councils in holding an informative Estate Planning Day program for their community.

We anticipate many more estate planning councils joining the ranks of the councils, which annually hold such a program, when we all celebrate Estate Planning Awareness Week on October 20 through 26, 2008.

We sincerely hope that the public will become aware of estate planning and, before it is too late, seek guidance from professionals who are educated, licensed, experienced and credentialed.

Look for such a program in your area, or, better yet, as a professional, plan one!