|Americans' words and deeds about wills at odds
|By Cheryl Allebrand • Bankrate.com
Actions don't reflect values
when it comes to planning for your heirs, Bankrate's
latest poll reveals.
Even though three-quarters of
our poll respondents (76 percent) believe that everyone
should have a will, a whopping 57 percent of Americans
don't have one themselves.
Parents of kids younger than 18 make
an even poorer showing: 67 percent don't have a will,
despite the fact that 88 percent of parents believe
wills are an important way to appoint guardians.
“Most attorneys don't have a will ... Many successful people plan every thing else in their lives except their estate plan.”
Bankrate commissioned GfK Roper to conduct
a random survey of America's attitudes and behavior
as part of this month's estate planning focus in our
yearlong Financial Literacy series. Over a thousand
people were asked if they had a will; based on their
responses, we polled them more in depth. We also asked
experts to weigh in on the results.
Death: a universal phenomenon
Suze Orman, personal finance author and TV show host, questions whether the majority of Americans without wills understand the consequences of their inaction: "100 percent of all people are going to die. It's not if you're going to die, it's when you're going to die. Yet more than half don't even have a will."
|Do you have a will?
This tendency to procrastinate is common to people of all education levels and walks of life, says Marshall Jones, an attorney and accredited estate planner at RMJ Family Wealth Planning in West Palm Beach, Fla.
"It's not surprising that most people don't have a will," he says. "Most attorneys don't have a will.
"Before I was in law school, the
chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee died.
He was a wealthy man in his own right and his committee
was responsible for tax legislation. They found
his will in his desk drawer ... unsigned. His
family paid millions more in taxes because he did
not complete his planning. Not much has changed
since then. Many successful people plan every
thing else in their lives except their estate plan."