Berman & Asbel, LLP

Why people postpone preparing a will

Pennsylvania residents might be surprised to learn that only about 40 percent of American adults have a will or other estate planning documents in place. The percentage is even lower for people who have dependent children, according to an online survey.

The survey found that nearly 80 percent of adults from the age of 18 to 36, and about 65 percent of those in the age group of 37 to 52 have not prepared a will. While about 80 percent of older Americans age 72 and up have a will or living trust, the number drops to 60 percent for those between the ages of 53 and 71.

Experts say the problem is because the young American adult generation has no concern with their mortality. They tend to think more about life than death. Therefore, they do not think they need a will until they get old, and if something bad happens to them, they assume their parents will take care of the matter. Furthermore, while those in the baby boomer generation know they should prepare a will, they postpone the matter because they do not wish to consider death.

Another reason young people postpone writing a will is because they tend to have fewer assets than older adults, so they think estate planning is just for wealthy people. In fact, about 30 percent of people who lacked a will said they did not have sufficient assets to bequeath to anyone. However, without a will, the state will decide who gets the decedent's assets, not the loved ones who might value those assets.

Having a will is important for adults of any age. Those who want to know how to start the process might want to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney who could describe other types of documents that might also be suitable.

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

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