EZLaw Survey Finds Most Americans Recognize the Importance of aWill or Estate Planning, Yet Few Have Necessary Documents in Place
Results Show Less Than Forty Percent of Parents with Minor Children Have Wills
NEW YORK, July 19, 2011
A new national survey commissioned on behalf of EZLaw
, an online legaldocument creation service from LexisNexis
, finds the majority of Americans (60 percent) believe that alladults should have a will or estate planning documents in place, yet only 44 percent report that theycurrently have any such documents. In stark contrast, more than one third (36 percent) of Americans withminor children do not believe that wills or estate plans are among the most important documents to haveon hand. Rather, adults with minors in the household rank birth certificates (76 percent) and titles/deedsfor property and vehicles (70 percent) as the most important. In addition, although the majority of parentswith minors in the household (75 percent) understand that a court will decide who
the children’s legal
if there is no will at the time of both parents’ death, only 39 percent have any estate
planning documents in place.
The 2011 EZLaw Wills & Estate Planning survey shows parents may not be taking the necessary stepsto ensure their wishes for the care of their children and estate are followed in the event that both parentswere to pass, for example due to an accident
said David Palmieri, vice president and managing directorof Marketing and Consumer Solutions at LexisNexis.
Additional research conducted by EZLaw earlierthis year indicates that many parents consider wills to be more appropriate for those with significantwealth and as a result, they risk leaving the fate of their children in the hands of the courts instead ofbeing directed by an enforceable legal document.
Reasons given for not making a will or estate planning a priority vary widely. According to the survey, 37percent of Americans cite a current focus
such as paying bills and buying groceries, asthe top reason they
don’t have any estate planning documents
. Other reasons cited by surveyrespondents include:
Not necessary (18 percent)
Too complicated to deal with right now (16 percent)
Too expensive (14 percent)
Belief that their spouse and/or children will automatically receive any assets that they have (13percent)
Too time consuming (6 percent)Other findings indicate that age and gender play a role in whether a person has a will or estate planningdocuments. For example, the majority of Americans report that they are most concerned about preservingtheir health (70 percent) and having enough money to retire (50 percent) as opposed to protecting their