Dying without a will or trust prepared: 67% of Americans don’t have an estate plan, survey finds

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many Americans to reflect on the moment of his death and the need to prepare certain patrimonial documents such as a will or any other that would give certainty of what would happen to their assets upon death.

However, even though that thought crossed the minds of millions, only 33% took any action to get that paperwork ready, according to a survey of caring.com.

According to the survey results, the above data means that almost two-thirds of those surveyed still have those decisions adrift.

The online survey caring.com was conducted with more than 2,600 American adults and highlights the behavior and attitudes of people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

When asked why they neglected estate planning, the main reason was that they just hadn’t made it, according to 40% of those surveyed.

Meanwhile, 33% said they do not have enough assets to leave to their loved ones, 13% said the estate planning process is too expensive, and 12% said they don’t know how to get a will.

How the level of income and schooling influences

Higher-income, highly educated Americans are more likely to cite procrastination as the reason for not creating a will.

Of those who said they don’t have estate planning documents, 63% who make $80,000 or more a year say that “he just hasn’t thought about it.”

Likewise, 2 out of 3 Americans with graduate degrees say that one of the main reasons they have neglected the estate planning process is simple postponement.

In contrast, respondents in the lowest income bracket and those without a college education are much more likely to neglect estate planning due to a perceived lack of assets.

Greater awareness after being close to death

Many of these reasons for not having done so are due, in large part, to the fact that they did not have or have not had a serious case of COVID-19.

The survey indicates that those who presented a serious picture of the disease were 66% more likely to engage in estate planning.

“Even with the big scare of possible imminent death, people still don’t run out and take care of what isn’t so hard to take care of,” he told CNBC Jim Rosenthal, CEO of caring.com.

Rosenthal said the first step is to be as informed as possible and consider consulting a financial adviser. For those with fewer assets, online resources can help them plan.

However, to ensure that self-made documents are official, you may want to have them notarized.