Decreasing Life Expectancy Increasing The Urgency Of Estate Plans

It is never too early to create an estate plan. However, it can be too late.

As with anything involving a will, trust and power of attorney, time is of the essence. However, a recent report suggests a more urgent need for proactive planning steps. Life expectancy in the United States has declined for the first time in more than two decades, a sign that health problems may be worsening.

A Troubling Trend In Life Expectancy Rates

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death, including heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions. While the study cites white middle-aged men as a key demographic, the jump in mortality rates encompasses all age ages.

According to World Bank data, life expectancy fell from 78.9 in 2014 to 78.8 in 2015, the first decline in 1993 when it dropped from 75.6 to 75.4. The overall death rate rose 1.2 percent over the past year, an increase not seen since 1999.

Additional findings include:

  • Male life expectancy went from 76.5 in 2014 to 76.3 years this year with females seeing a reduction from 81.3 to 81.2.
  • Death rates increased for white men, white women and black men, while black women and Hispanics of both genders remained the same.
  • Life expectancy at age 65 remained the same with men expected to live another 18 years and women living another 20.6 years.
  • Deaths from heart disease saw an increase from 614,000 to 633,000 primarily due to increases in obesity.
  • Deaths from Alzheimer's disease saw the highest rate jump from 25.4 to 29.4 per 100,000 people.
  • Unintentional injuries (overdoses and accidents) increased over the past year from 136,000 to 146,000.

Regardless of dire predictions or promising trends, estate planning is a necessary step that requires an experienced attorney.

Source: The Washington Post, U.S. life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993, Lenny Bernstein, December 8, 2016.