U.S. Capital

Survey Finds More Than Half of Americans Do Not Have a Will

Oct 25, 2017

San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) October 25, 2017 – A recent Caring.com study revealed concerning data about the number of American adults who lack key estate planning documents.

Among the 1,003 adults surveyed, 58 percent admitted to not having a will or living trust in place. As expected, the likelihood of having estate planning documents increased with age. While 81 percent of individuals aged 72 or older said they had a will or trust, the same was true for only one out of five millennials.

The findings showed that the most common excuses for lacking estate planning documents were not getting around to creating them or not having enough assets, especially among young adults. According to the Caring.com survey, 29 percent of people said they do not have a will because they “don’t have enough assets to leave anyone.” Many experts attribute an aversion to end-of-life planning to fear and procrastination.

“There is a misconception that creating a will can be put off until later in life,” said nationally known estate planning attorney Michael Gilfix. “Many individuals simply do not want to think about their own death. However, setting up key estate planning documents is necessary regardless of assets or age. Doing so will not only ensure your wishes are carried out when you are no longer around, but it will also save loved ones from a lot of anguish.”

Wills are important because they specify how one’s assets should be distributed upon death. For parents, the document also serves the crucial purpose of nominating a guardian to care for their children rather than having a court decide. Surprisingly, only 36 percent of survey respondents with children under 18 said they have devised an end-of-life plan.

For the vast majority, living trusts make even more sense. Trusts, unlike wills, ensure the avoidance of probate when properly funded.

The Caring.com study also surveyed people about health care powers of attorney. The results revealed demographic disparities once again. Eighty-three percent of those over 72 have a power of attorney in place to make medical decisions on their behalf in case of incapacity. In contrast, the same holds true for only 41 percent of millennials.

Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP
2300 Geng Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Telephone: (650) 493-8070

Facebook: Like Us!

  • Betsy DeVos sparks concern among special education advocates
    The appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education has caused concern among parents and advocates of children with special needs. They are worried about whether she will work in the best interests of the over 6.5 million students who require special education in school. During her confirmation hearing in January, DeVos appeared to lack […]
  • Four practical tips for avoiding family inheritance disputes
    Disputes involving inheritance have the potential to tear families apart. Fortunately, proper planning can help reduce the risk of disagreements among loved ones and ensure they will be provided for when you are no longer around. Set up an estate plan as soon as possible. Old age and illness can make it difficult to communicate […]
  • Clean Hands, Save Lives, and Avoid Misery
    It's flu season again. All of our staff members want to do what's best for our clients. That includes, we decided, making sure that we, as an office community, make good hand hygiene a habit. At our last staff meeting, I gave a presentation on how to avoid getting the flu, respiratory, and GI illnesses […]
  • Be a “Patient Advocate” for Hospitalized Loved Ones
    Hospitals can be unsafe places. Mistakes happen. Sleep can border on the impossible. Hospital based infections happen far too often. To combat all of this and to enhance and protect the well-being of a loved one who is hospitalized for any reason, family members and individuals named as agents in Advance Directives must become protective […]
  • Safety tips to prepare the home for comfortable aging
    Many elderly people wish to age in the comfort of their own home. According to the Administration on Aging’s 2016 Profile of Older Americans, over 13.6 million seniors live alone. However, what happens when the home’s once-familiar areas become hazardous? Will the house be able to handle one’s daily needs? It is important to consider […]