According to the CDC, 121,087 people ages 25 to 45 died in the United States in 2007. The leading cause of death was accidents (24 percent), followed by cancer (14 percent) and heart disease (12 percent). The same year, 469,491 people ages 45 to 64 died in the United States. The leading cause of death among this demographic was cancer (32 percent), followed by heart disease (21 percent) and accidents (6 percent).
While those deaths represent just a small fraction of each demographic group, putting the deaths in term of people dying rather than a percentage of the population really hit home for me. In all, more than half a million relatively young people’s lives were cut short by things like accidents and illness.
That’s more than half a million families who have grieved an untimely loss. And based on the results of a recent survey, more than half of these people died without even the most basic estate planning documents in place. That’s a lot of people!
We all like to think that unexpected illnesses and accidents are things that happen to other people. But the truth is that we are all at risk. None of us is special. Tragedy can happen to any of us and any age. We owe it to our families to be prepared.