Mary Merrell Baily writes, on WealthManagemetn.com, that there is a business opportunity for estate lawyers who shift from estate planning to probate.  Her article begins as follows:

Surveys confirm that avoiding probate is the primary reason that clients engage in estate planning today.  Yet, the estates of the majority of Americans will go into probate.

In March 2014, Trusts & Estates published the findings from the 7th Annual Industry Trends Survey conducted by WealthCounsel and WealthManagement.com.  The survey looked at the business challenges of estate-planning professionals and provided insight on what motivates clients to engage in planning.  The survey found that the top three reasons that clients engage in planning are to: (1) avoid probate (59 percent), (2) minimize discord among beneficiaries (57 percent), and (3) protect children from mismanaging their inheritances (39 percent).

Yet, in spite of the survey results indicating that probate avoidance is foremost in the mind of those who engage in planning, the bad news is that the majority of Americans don’t plan because they lack awareness as to why they should.  (See 4th Annual Industry Trends Survey.)

New Business Opportunity

More than 2.5 million people (comprised mostly of seniors) die each year in the U. S—a number that’s expected to increase dramatically over the next 10 to 20 years due to the aging baby boom population.  And, according to the U. S. Census Bureau, more people were 65 and over in 2010 than in any previous census.

Combine those figures with the estimated 55 percent to 70 percent of Americans who don’t have an estate plan or a simple will, and it becomes clear that large numbers of people will die intestate over the next 20 years.

While these sobering statistics present a challenge to the estate attorney’s current business model built around trust planning, the new reality is that it simultaneously presents a new business opportunity.

Read the full article at The Shift from Estate Planning to Estate Probating | Business Planning content from WealthManagement.com.

Posted by Lewis J. Saret, Co-General Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.