The COVID-19 pandemic has led many more Americans to pay attention to estate planning, but just a third of them have taken action, according to a recent report.
Financial Advisor IQ’s recent article entitled “More Americans Set Up Estate Plans Since Start of Pandemic” reports that more than 50% of Americans think estate planning is at least somewhat important, senior living referral service Caring.com found in a survey of more than 2,600 American adults. Caring.com didn't disclose when the survey was conducted.
The number of those aged 18 to 34 with estate planning documents has increased 50% since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the survey. Americans who’ve suffered through a serious COVID case are also 66% more likely to have a will than those who haven’t, Caring.com found.
Roughly 48% who have had a serious case have estate planning in place, as do 41% of those who have loved ones who had one. That’s compared to 29% who have no experience with a serious COVID -19 case, according to the survey.
Overall, two out of three American adults don’t have a will — the percentage has only inched up from 32.1% in 2020 to 32.9% in 2021 to 33.1% this year.
More than 60% of those without a will have done nothing toward getting a will or any estate planning document, according to the survey.
The most cited reason for not having a will is simply not getting around to it. That’s cited by 40% of all Americans without one.
That’s particularly prevalent among those earning $80,000 a year or more and without a will, 63% of whom say they haven’t had time to do so, as well as those with postgraduate education, two out of three of whom say they haven’t got around to it, according to the survey.
On the other hand, 48% of those earning $80,000 or more say they do have a will or another estate planning document.
That represents a 7% increase since 2020, Caring.com says.
However, a third (33%) of Americans overall say they don’t have an estate plan because they don’t have enough to leave behind, according to the survey.
Meanwhile, 12% say they don’t know how to get a will or living trust, and about 13% believe it’s too expensive to set up. Another 6% think it takes too long, and 9% say they don’t have anyone to leave their assets to, Caring.com found.
Reference: Financial Advisor IQ (April 25, 2022) “More Americans Set Up Estate Plans Since Start of Pandemic”