While most people associate October with everything from Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Healthy Lung Month to Columbus Day and, of course, Halloween, it’s important not to overlook other important and valuable events taking place during the course of these 31 days.

For example, were you aware that next week is National Estate Planning Awareness Week? Indeed, this has been an annual occurrence since 2008 when it was granted legal recognition by the passage of H. Res. 1499 by 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, the entity behind National Estate Planning Awareness Week, sponsors the event in the hopes of “help[ing] the public understand what estate planning is and why it is such a vital component of financial wellness.”

For those who question the need for such an event, consider that the NAEPC estimates that as many as 56 percent of adults here in the U.S. are currently without a current estate plan.

As for those who might also be on the fence about the need to create an estate plan or who believe that a simple do-it-yourself online will is sufficient, consider the following questions:

  • Do you know about the portable estate tax exemption?
  • Do you know the federal gift tax exemption?
  • Do you know about the unlimited marital deduction?
  • Do you know why it can be advantageous to make bequests to IRS-approved charities?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then a person should seriously consider heeding the advice of the NAEPC, and contact a skilled legal professional who can explain the law, answer questions and help devise the necessary estate plan — whether next week or anytime in the near future.