A recent survey was given out by the University of Michigan, polling people to find out what they had done as far as estate planning was concerned. The survey, which was called the Health and Retirement Study, was provided to 26,000 people, all of whom were more than 50 years old. It had support from the National Institute on Aging, though the University of Michigan was in charge of distribution.
The results showed that many people did not have a will at all, indicating that people tended to put this off. In fact, those who were more than 75 years old still did not have wills all of the time, with 25 percent responding that they did not have one. As the ages went down from there, the percentages of those without wills kept increasing.
Part of the reason for this could be that it takes a lot of work, especially when it comes to looking over records. Those familiar with the work said that it could be a nightmare. They suggested, however, that keeping lists of certain things -- such as passwords and bank account information -- could be very helpful.
People who were asked seemed to know that they should have wills, though. Some people even talked about items that are not traditional assets, saying that they needed wills to determine things such as who would be in charge of a pet after death.
Estate planning for the distribution of property is very important at any age, as people can never be sure when the documents will be necessary. While there can be a lot of paperwork, getting started on this earlier in life will only make things easier.
Source: The Boston Globe, "In estate planning, family isn’t always first" Caitlin Kelly, May. 08, 2014