It's a fallacy that creating a will is difficult, complicated and overwhelming, but many people don't seem to want to address this issue because it also touches upon their mortality. Many think they will live forever, or put off estate planning for another day because they say, "There's always tomorrow."
Americans don't seem to understand the importance of having an estate plan. We have to spread the word that if you don't make these decisions at all, then the state will perform the task of distributing your assets; choosing an executor of your estate; naming a guardian for your children; and determining who will manage your children's financial affairs.
The latter situation would only happen if you did not have a will, living trust or estate plan. An updated survey by Caring.com shined the spotlight on people's disdain for creating an estate plan. (The survey took place in January in which 1,003 adults were quizzed as to whether they had an estate plan.)
Survey unveils surprising results
The key finding: just 42 percent of American adults have some form of estate planning documents in place such as a living trust or a will. But the number is even lower for people who have children under the age of 18. Only 36 percent of this group has an estate plan.
If these numbers reflect the entire country, it means that a whopping 58 percent of Americans don't have an estate plan, and 64 percent of people with minor children also lack a will a living trust. An estate plan is very important, especially if you have minor children.
Sixty-four percent of GenXers don't have estate plan
All of this is concerning. Somehow, we must help people overcome their estate-planning fears. Here are some other key findings from the Caring.com survey:
- Older Americans get it. A total of 81 percent of people age 72 or older have a will or living trust.
- Younger people continue to lag. An estimated 78 percent of the millennials (ages 18-36) surveyed reported not having a will. Then again, younger people - many of whom are just beginning their professional careers - also have fewer assets.
- Roughly 64 percent of Generation Xers (ages 37 to 52) don't have a will.
- Forty percent of survey respondents in the 53- to 71-year-old category also have no estate plan.
You want to continue to take care of your family, even after you die. A solid estate plan would help you do this. We know that preparing for the end of your life is a topic that few people want to discuss. But you can't live forever. By having an estate plan, you may achieve some peace of mind and help your survivors avoid any hassles.