Nearly six in 10 U.S. adults don't have a will

Most New Jersey residents know the importance of estate planning. However, a study shows that nearly 60 percent of U.S. adults do not have a will in place.

In January, researchers from Princeton Survey Research Associates International asked 1,003 adults if they had wills, living trusts or other estate planning documents. If respondents didn't have any estate plans in place, they were asked to explain why. Researchers found that only 42 percent of respondents had a will. Of those without estate planning documents, 47 percent said they hadn't gotten around to preparing them. In many cases, people procrastinate over wills because they don't like talking about death and because they like to think they're going to live forever. Of course, the reality is that people can die at any time, and plans need to be made for the sake of loved ones.

The study found that older Americans were most likely to have estate planning documents, with 81 percent of those age 72 or older having a will or living trust in place. However, 78 percent of millennials and 64 percent of Generation X do not have a will. Meanwhile, 40 percent of respondents ages 53 to 71 don't have estate plans. The study also found that only 36 percent of parents with children under 18 have a will. Experts say it is critical to have estate plans in place when there are minor children involved.

Many people find it beneficial to consult with an attorney when drawing up an estate plan. After reviewing the specifics of the case, legal counsel could help a client create a will, trust or guardianship that is best for their situation.

Source: FOX Business, "More Than Half of American Adults Don't Have a Will", Nick DiUlio, Feb. 6, 2017

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