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Survey: Most adults still do not have a will

If asked, most people would say that having a will and estate plan is important.

Even when many people would agree with this statement, several adults across New Jersey and the country still do not have the proper estate planning documents in place, should something happen to them.

Study finds more than half of adults do not have a will

According to a recent study conducted by, only 32% of adults surveyed report having a will. That has decreased since 2017 when 42% of American adults reported having a will – or another estate planning document.

And the likelihood that individuals have such a plan in place actually decreases as they get older. The study also found that adults over 55 are roughly 20% to 25% less likely to have an estate plan established.

This leaves a considerable percentage of the population without a will or any form of an estate plan for if they become incapacitated or pass away.

Why do so many adults avoid estate planning?

There are several reasons why roughly half of the population does not have an estate plan, including:

  • Many do not know where to start when it comes to making an estate plan;
  • Many people do not believe they have enough assets to establish a trust or will; or
  • They put it off because time, other engagements or responsibilities prevent them from beginning the process.

Another reason people might avoid estate planning is the emotional stress that can come with it. Estate planning requires individuals to think about their own mortality and the end of their life. This can be an overwhelming topic to think about, much less discuss and plan.

It is important to note that establishing a will allows New Jersians to establish their individual wishes and provide for their family after they are gone. While there are many reasons individuals may avoid estate planning, there are more important reasons to begin the process and establish a plan.

If you are interested in discussing your estate in greater detail, and the benefits of estate planning, please contact Michelle E. Smith, Esq. for a consultation.



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