NEW YORK (MainStreet) — We already know that a majority of Americans are woefully unprepared for retirement, but a new survey finds that most consumers haven’t formally established what will happen to their finances once they die either.
According to the survey, conducted by legal services website Rocket Lawyer, more than half (57%) of Americans 18 and over do not have a will. These results get even more shocking when you break them down by age.
While it makes some sense for younger people (92% of adults under age 35 haven’t drawn up a will yet) not to have such a plan, the study found that 44% of baby boomers (ages 45-64) don’t have a will, and a surprising 22% of Americans over 65 don’t either.
A look at the data shows that planning for death – its financial ramifications at least – differs significantly by gender. Twenty-six percent of women said they didn’t have a will because of the costs associated with drawing one up, while 39% of men who don’t have a will said that they simply didn’t need one.
According to Charley Moore, founder and chairman of Rocket Lawyer, said regardless of age, Americans with children, property and assets should put a basic legal will in place.
"Everyone, regardless of age or wealth, needs a legal will to help shelter loved ones from potentially expensive and stressful disputes and court procedures affecting your assets, funeral arrangements, and more,” Moore said in a press release. “Without a will, the court makes the final decision about who takes care of your children."
The survey was conducted by telephone March 9 - 13 by Harris Interactive, which interviewed a nationwide cross section of 1,001 adults.
The survey found that 35% of men are likely to leave more money to their while 43% of women are more likely to leave equal amounts to each beneficiary in their will.