For a large part of Insecure’s final season, Molly Carter spent several episodes trying to convince her parents to get a jump on their estate planning. After relentless prodding and a day walking through the paperwork and making decisions with Kelli, they finally got a will and estate plan in place.
And while Molly’s struggle was depicted in a fictional show, the truth is that her situation is a reality for many Black families in the US –– including some of our beloved icons we’ve lost (Prince and Aretha Franklin, for example).
A new report from Caring.com shows that more than 70% of Black Americans do not have a will. In 2021, 27% of Black people in the US reported having a will –– which increased from 2020’a rate of 25.9%.
Experts say that by not having a will, Black people are missing out on one of the key ways to transfer wealth to future generations.
Over the next 25 years, roughly $68 million will be handed down to heirs in the US, an analysis by the Cerulli Associates finance group shows, per CNBC.
Brickson Diamond, co-founder of the Blackhouse Foundation and board member of the online estate-planning platform Gentreo, told the outlet that probate costs could eat up 3% to 8% of an estate value without a will in place.
“So many families lose their family access and ownership of land,” Diamond noted, raising the issue of the potential disagreements that may arise without a will and what to do with property that’s been in a family for more than one generation.
“If you haven’t prepared to pay the taxes and get the mortgage covered .. the home will at best fall into disrepair and at worst fall out of the hands of family.”
Community leaders, such as Atlanta restauranteurs Pinky Cole and Derrick Hayes, are doing their part in raising awareness about estate planning. The two started an initiative to purchase life insurance for Black men last summer.
Estate attorney Portia Wood told CNBC said that anyone over the age of 18 should have a plan in place.
“The misconception is that age is a factor, that you’re supposed to be old to do estate planning, or you’re supposed to be wealthy to do estate planning is just wrong,” Wood said.
Wood suggests finding a culturally-competent attorney to help you get started on the process and to tap into online resources to get started or answer questions about the basics.
In addition to a last will and testatment, you’ll need: durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, and a living will (also known as an advanced directive.)
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