Early in 2022, Caring.com released the results of their annual Wills and Estate Planning Survey. There are multiple interesting data points in this survey, so let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
2 out of 3 American Adults Do Not Have a Will
Even after the years of pandemic and the growing knowledge of the importance of estate planning, 2 in 3 American adults still do not have a will, or any kind of estate planning.
Of those adults without a will, more than 60% haven’t even started the process, while the remainder have taken some kind of action such as consulting a lawyer, wrote down basic plans or ideas, or filed paperwork.
More Young Adults Have Wills Since the Pandemic
American adults over the age of 55 are still the most likely age group to have a will or any other kind of estate planning document. This is likely because they have children or grandchildren to provide for, or have had a medical emergency which necessitated estate planning.
But since the pandemic’s start, the number of young adults aged 18-34 to have a will has grown by 50% compared to before the pandemic. This stark increase may be due to the effects of the pandemic, but it is difficult to place that as the instigating reason without more information obtained from those surveyed.
Laziness Still the Top Factor
40% of adults surveyed said they did not yet have estate planning completed because they hadn’t gotten around to it. It’s not a top priority and so they keep getting put off.
The second most common reason for not having estate plans? 1 in 3, or 33%, said it’s because they believe they don’t have enough assets to bother with estate planning. This is a detrimental misconception because they may unintentionally be disinheriting their spouse from receiving all of what they in fact have.
A Serious Case of COVID More Likely to Result in Estate Plans
Of those surveyed, almost half (48%) of those who had a severe case of COVID-19 had estate planning documents.
Those with first-hand experience of COVID were 17% more likely to have any kind of estate planning documents than those who had second-hand experience (such as a loved one getting sick) and 39% more likely than those who had no personal experience with COVID.