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Estate Planning Survey: 57% of Adults Don’t Have a Will. Do you?

As the saying goes, nothing is certain in life except for death and taxes. Still, while more than 142 million U.S. tax returns are expected to be filed in April, Americans are leaving their loved ones woefully unprepared for that other inevitability by not creating a Will and estate plan.

In recognition of Make a Will month, Rocket Lawyer commissioned a survey by Harris Interactive to check up on the legal health of adults in the U.S. in regards to estate planning.  We wanted to know: who does (and who doesn’t) have a Legal Will?

The March 2011 survey of 1,001 adults revealed that more than half of all adults (57 percent) do not have a Will, including a shocking 92 percent of adults under age 35 and 44 percent of baby boomers (ages 45-64).

The survey also found that men and women have different reasons for not creating a Legal Will.  More than one-third of men feel they do not need a Will (39 percent) whereas one in four women blame cost (26 percent) as the primary reason they do not have a Will. Regardless of the reason, Americans with children, property and assets need a basic legal Will in place. Other results from the estate planning survey include:

  • 61 percent of men do not have a Will versus 53 percent of women
  • 22 percent of Americans over the age of 65 do not have a Will
  • 32 percent of Americans would rather do their taxes, get a root canal, or give up sex for a month than create or update their Will
  • Republicans are more likely to have a Will than Democrats (46 percent of Republicans versus 37 percent Democrats)
  • Men are likely to leave more money to their spouse (35 percent) whereas women are more likely to leave equal amounts to each beneficiary in their Will (43 percent)

If you’re one of the 57% of adults in the U.S. who haven’t written a Will, the good news is that you can create your Free Legal Will with Rocket Lawyer — it’s completely free through April 30th in recognition of Make a Will month.

For an overview of the survey, please see our presentation below.  For a full methodology, please contact rocketlawyer(at)

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