The percentage of Americans who don’t have a will has been generally increasing in recent years. For instance, in 2017, only 42% of people had a will. In 2018, that fell to 40%, and then it dipped to 32.1% the year after. There was a slight rise in 2020 to 32.9%, but it’s still clear that the majority of adults in the U.S. do not have even the most basic estate planning documents.
This could create some serious problems in the coming years. How many families are going to lose loved ones and have no idea how to divide their assets? How many disputes are going to arise as heirs try to figure this out on their own? And that’s not even considering potential problems with an aging population that doesn’t have powers of attorney or advance directives.
Some of the main reasons people don’t make a plan
It is helpful to know why this is happening, not just that it is happening. To that end, here are some of the main reasons for the lack of planning:
- People want to make a plan but just haven’t gotten around to actually doing it yet.
- People think they have too few assets for it to matter.
- People believe they are not old enough to need a plan.
- People do not know how to get started.
- People believe that it is going to cost too much to make an estate plan.
The truth is that estate planning is necessary at any age, and it’s easier than you think. Take the time to look into the legal steps you need to take today.