In a recent survey based on 1,003 adult respondents, it was found that more than half of all adults living in the United States don’t have some sort of will detailing their final wishes in the event of their death. While the actual statistics gathered by Princeton Survey Research Associates International on behalf of Caring.com vary by demographics, it is surprising just how many adults haven’t made provisions for their ultimate passing.
Why the Results Aren’t Unexpected
Needless to say, few people want to think about their own deaths. It’s not that we think we are immortal and won’t be leaving this plane of existence at one time or another, it’s just uncomfortable to think about death – plain and simple. So then, the results aren’t all that surprising in that few Millennials have a will. Only a slightly higher percentage of Gen Xers have wills and, of course, Boomers have the highest percentage but even those numbers could use some improvement. Boomers who are reaching senior years by the millions each year are more apt to speak with an estate lawyer simply because they are at an age where death is imminent.
What the Survey Found
In terms of percentages, according to the survey, demographics played a huge role in the final tally. Percentages of American adults who hadn’t yet drafted a will added up to:
- Total of 42% adults currently have wills or some other estate documents.
- Parents with minor children tallied up to 36% having some form of will in place.
- 81% of seniors over the age of 72 have wills.
- 22% of the Millennial generation have wills.
- 36% of Gen X have wills.
If you look at those numbers from the opposite direction, you’ll see that only 19% of those over the age of 72 don’t have a will while a staggering 64% of Gen Xers don’t have a will. What does this mean in terms of just why these documents haven’t been drafted?
Age and Assets Are the Culprits
The survey found that many respondents who don’t have a will said the ultimate reason is because they have little to leave behind. They had built no financial wealth and so there was nothing of any import to be concerned with. What those people weren’t thinking of is the fact that even small possessions are important to those we leave behind. Little things represent the memories we leave behind and sometimes these are the things most coveted by our loved ones. You don’t need to be a millionaire to have a will drafted. What you need to be is concerned with giving your loved ones closure and some memory of you and your love for them.
If you haven’t written a will or some other estate planning document, now is the time to talk to your attorney. Don’t leave your loved ones in a state of confusion wondering what to do and what your wishes would have been. Don’t leave your family asking, “What would mom have wanted to wear?” or “Who would dad want to have this hunting rifle?” Answer those questions for them with well-thought-out estate planning documents you’ve left behind. Make it easier on them and at the same time, know that your final wishes will be carried out. That’s peace of mind in a nutshell.