San Francisco, CA, March 31, 2011 - 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.
Rocket Lawyer™, the fastest growing online legal service, today announced the results of a national survey, conducted by telephone by Harris Interactive. 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). In order to help Americans who have been putting off their estate planning, Rocket Lawyer has declared April national "Make a Will Month" and is making it easier than ever before to create a Will completely free of charge. During Make a Will Month, simply visit RocketLawyer.com to make a free legal Will with no credit card required.
Rocket Lawyer has helped more than 15 million consumers and small businesses take a proactive approach to their legal wellness. On any given month, more than 20,000 Wills are created using the site's simple interview process where users just answer a few easy questions online to create a Will or other legal document. Once the document is complete, it can be securely stored, shared, e-signed, and made available for legal review by a network of attorneys on RocketLawyer.com.
"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. Without a Will, the Court makes the final decision about who takes care of your children," said Charley Moore, founder and chairman of Rocket Lawyer. "During Make a Will Month, Rocket Lawyer makes it possible for everyone to take advantage of a chance to do the right thing for free, plan ahead and protect your loved ones. We hope that Make a Will Month encourages Americans to stop procrastinating and take charge of their estate planning."
According to the survey results, 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)
In recognition of Make a Will Month, Rocket Lawyer compiled three key tips people should take into consideration to help protect their assets in case of death:
- Update your legal Will with every major life event. It is important to review and update a Will regularly. Change in marital status, buying a home, children, divorce, death of beneficiaries and new tax laws are all reasons to update an existing Will. Keeping your Will up-to-date ensures that your wishes will be carried out in the event of death, and can keep your beneficiaries from having to engage in costly, emotionally draining and unnecessary court proceedings.
- Designate beneficiaries and an executor. Beneficiaries are the people or organizations who receive property and the executor is the person designated to make sure a person's wishes are carried out during the distribution of property. Your executor should be someone you trust to carry out and follow your wishes. Because your executor will have to deal with the legal and financial obligations of estate administration, it is a good idea to choose someone who has a head for finance, and can handle the responsibility.
- Share your legal Will with loved ones. It is important to inform loved ones that they are included in your Will so they are not caught off guard upon your death. It is also important to let them know where your estate planning documents are stored so they can access, view and carry out your plan in a timely manner. By storing your Will safely and securely on the internet, key family members have peace of mind to know exactly where to turn, saving time, money and hassle and most importantly preventing family conflicts.
This survey was conducted by Harris Interactive by telephone within the United States on behalf of Rocket Lawyer between March 9 - 13, 2011 among a nationwide cross section of 1,001 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 412 have a will and 572 do not have a will. Click here for full survey results. For a full methodology, please contact rocketlawyer(at)bordersgratehouse.com.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us -- and our clients -- stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
About Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer™ is the only complete legal service on the Internet, providing over a million businesses and individuals a simple, easy, and affordable way to manage their legal needs. Rocket Lawyer allows members to personalize legal documents through a simple interview process. These documents can then be securely stored, shared, e-signed, and reviewed by thousands of attorneys in the Rocket Lawyer network. Rocket Lawyer also offers a suite of law firm marketing tools and customizable client referral services for attorneys. For more information on Rocket Lawyer, visit www.rocketlawyer.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
PR and Marketing Manager
svolkov ( at ) rocketlawyer.com
for Rocket Lawyer PR
perrin ( at ) bordersgratehouse.com
(415) 963-4174 ext. 11
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.