Since 2015, Caring.com has conducted an annual Wills and Estate Planning study in an effort to "educate Americans and raise awareness about the importance of estate planning." According to this year's study, nearly 64% of Americans believe it's important to have a Will, yet only 34% of Americans actually do.
Percentage of Americans Who Have a Will by Age Group
This year's study found that "[y]oung adults have seen a significant rise in rates of estate planning over the last several years – 63% more young adults (18-34 year-olds) now have estate planning documents than in 2020, and young adults are now almost as likely as middle-aged adults to have a will."
While there has been an increase in estate planning, particularly among young adults, the number still remains low overall. The study revealed that only 34% of Americans have a Will, and of that 34%, less than 30% of Americans ages 18-54 have a Will and less than 50% of adults over age 55 have a Will.
Reasons Why Americans Have Not Engaged in Estate Planning
The results of the study shows the most common reasons that Americans have not yet completed their estate planning. The number one reason being procrastination. Unfortunately, failing to put estate planning documents in place can result in unwanted legal consequences, tax ramifications, and family disputes. The number two reason is believing an individual needs significant assets to have a Will. This simply is not true. Whether your estate is modest or significant, estate planning is critical. As for the other reasons, our firm strives to make estate planning as simple and affordable as possible in an effort to combat these concerns. The first step is to make your initial estate planning appointment. We'll help you through the rest.
Motivations to Get a Will
Of the population of Americans that do not currently have a Will, the study showed that most Americans are motivated by a medical diagnosis or health concern to finally get a Will. Unfortunately, it may be too late at that point. You may not be able to communicate your wishes, sign documents, or understand the documents.
Others would be motivated by a life event, attaining retirement age or receiving estate planning as an employer benefit. Most concerningly, 24% of Americans stated that nothing would motivate them. In my experience, I would agree that clients are often motivated by health concerns, life events (such as having a baby), or enduring the difficult role of being an executor for a loved one.
Interestingly, the study reported that "[y]oung adults were also more likely to be motivated by current events like mass shootings or inflation to create a will. Of adults aged 18-34, 24% cited this as their motivation, compared to only 11% of middle-aged adults and 4% of older adults."
August is make-a-Will month. If you or someone you know has been putting off their estate planning, now is the time to schedule an appointment. Copy the link below and send it to your friends and family to easily book an appointment online:
To read the complete survey, click here: https://www.caring.com/caregivers/estate-planning/wills-survey/