The 2011 EZLaw
Wills & Estate Planning Survey
Background and Objectives
The 2011 EZLaw
Wills & Estate Planning Survey was conducted to better understand
Americans’ attitudes and
behaviors toward wills and estate planning, including perceivedimportance of having a will and rationale for not having any estate planning documents inplace.
An online survey was conducted using the field services of TNS. The study reached anational sample of 1,000 American adults ages 18 and older. The margin of error for thetotal sample is ±3.1% at the 95% confidence level. This means that if we were to replicatethe study, we would expect to get the same results (within 3.1 percentage points) 95 timesout of 100.
While many Americans recognize the importance of wills and estate planning,the majority admit that they have no estate planning documents in place:
Themajority of Americans (60%) believe all adults should have estate plans, yet only 44%of Americans report that they currently have any estate planning documents.
Compared to their counterparts, younger Americans and women appear to beless concerned about the importance of estate planning:
Women and youngerAmericans are more likely to be most concerned about maintaining their weight thanprotecting their financial assets. In addition, younger Americans believe that it isbecoming less important for people to have wills because people are living longer,healthier lives.
Alarmingly, adults with minors in the household
don’t appear to be taking
enough precautions when it comes to estate planning:
Over a third of Americanswith children under 18 in the household (36%) do not believe that wills or estateplanning documents are one of the most important documents to have in place. Themajority rank birth certificates (76%) titles/deeds for property and vehicles (70%) asthe most important.In addition, although the majority of Americans with minors in the household (75%) say
that the court will decide who becomes the child’s legal guardian if there is no will at the
both parents’ death, only 39% have any estate planning documents in place
those Americans that don’t have any estate planning documents in place, one in ten
(13%) believe that their spouse/children will automatically receive the assets they have.
Americans express desire for a more effortless process of taking care of theirestate planning needs:
Nearly one in five consumers report that they do not haveestate planning documents because it is too complicated to deal with right now.Importantly, three-quarters of consumers report that they would be more likely tocreate or update their will if there was an easy, valid way to do so online.