The general assumption in the modern world is that life expectancy should keep going up. As medicine advances, people live longer. We haven’t had a war on the scale of the World Wars in generations, diseases are more contained than they have been in the past and technology has improved at a simply astounding rate.
However, all of that aside, the reality is that life expectancy in the United States has been trending in the wrong direction. It fell between 2016 and 2017, and then it fell again between 2017 and 2018.
Reports in 2018 showed that Americans could typically assume they would live until 78.7 years old, on average. That’s years behind many countries with a similar level of development, e.g., Canada and Japan.
Why is this important to note? If you have been putting off your estate planning like many people do, assuming you will have a long time to get things in order, these studies show that you may not have as long as you think. It is very important to be prepared, and that just gets more important as life expectancy continues to drop.
Of course, you also have to remember that this number is just an average, not a guarantee. People pass away all the time when they still have decades before they hit their 70s or 80. You can never accurately predict things like cancer or car accidents.
Therefore, no matter how old you are, don’t put estate planning off. Look into all of the legal steps you need to take to prepare your family for life after you are gone.