A 2021 study from caring.com shows the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on estate planning and the change in viewpoints among specific groups. The survey generated responses from 2,500 Americans and is a continuing effort to create greater awareness and understanding about the estate planning process. According to Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law, LLC, the news that more young people have estate plans, is not surprising and very welcomed!
Insurance News Net’s recent article entitled “Study: Young Adults More Likely To Do Estate Planning Due To COVID-19” reports that, based on results from last year, the number of young adults with a will increased by 63%.
For the first time, adults under 35 are more likely to have a will than those ages 35-54. About 50% of all younger adults surveyed also said that COVID-19 prompted their interest in estate planning. Despite the growing interest among younger adults, most Americans still do not have a will. They fail to take any action, except for speaking to loved ones about estate planning. About two-thirds, or 67% overall, still don’t have a will.
Most of those who responded to the survey said that procrastination was the main reason for not having a will. However, the number of Americans who expressed a lack of understanding increased by 90% since 2017.
The survey also shows a significant increase among Hispanic and Black Americans with a will. The number of Hispanics with a will increased by 12% and by 6.2% among Blacks, since the 2020 report.
“In comparison to previous years, the 2021 study indicates that Americans see a greater need for estate planning due to the pandemic,” says caring.com CEO, Jim Rosenthal. “Unfortunately, many people haven’t begun the estate planning process – even with the increased availability of remote and online services.”
Income level is also a significant factor among people who do estate planning. The survey’s respondents making under $40,000 a year were less likely to have a will.
The percentage of Americans with a will and annual income of $40,000 to $80,000 increased 6% to 39% in one year.
Caring.com has conducted its Wills and Estate Planning Study since 2015 to raise awareness of the importance of estate planning, especially among people who may not feel they have the money or know-how needed to create a will or living trust.
One note of caution from Beck & Lenox: While more young people have estate plans, a DIY plan is not often going to meet someone’s needs. An online plan for a young adult without children or assets may be sufficient for the short term. If you have minor children, a special need’s child, stepchildren, or some assets, you owe it to yourself to see an experienced estate planning attorney.
Reference: Insurance News Net (Feb. 23, 2021) “Study: Young Adults More Likely To Do Estate Planning Due To COVID-19”