Some important statistics

We Don’t Always Make Nice
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Some important statistics

By S. Craig Daniell

As a result of countless movie and television plots, most people know that a will is a legal document that specifies what should be done with a person’s assets and belongings after they die. A will also specifies an executor, who carries out the wishes of the deceased. Surprisingly, despite widespread knowledge as to what a will is, many Americans do not have one. According to a 2015 Harris Poll estate-planning survey, 64% of Americans do not have a will. This Forbes article cites the reasons for this troubling statistic:

  • 57% said they “just haven’t gotten around to making one.”
  • 22% felt that making a will was not urgent.
  • 17% did not think they needed a will.
  • 14% do not have a will because they do not want to think about death.

While it is advisable for all adults to have a will in place, it is especially important for seniors to outline the disposition of their assets upon their death. For those who have assets in the $5 million range, estate taxes can be a concern.

In the absence of either a will or a trust, state law dictates the disposition of a deceased person’s assets by means of a probate court, which can be a lengthy and expensive process.

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