|Americans' words and deeds about wills at odds
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Among those who do have a will, the
vast majority turned to an attorney (71 percent),
14 percent wrote their own wills, 7 percent used software,
2 percent bought documents from an office supply store
and the other 6 percent didn't specify.
That so many rely upon legal help to create a will may help explain the lower numbers of some groups, says Bankrate's senior financial analyst Greg McBride. "Those least likely to have a will are under age 35 or have household income under $30,000. The latter isn't surprising considering that 71 percent of those polled hired an attorney to assist in creating their will."
The next largest group, at 14 percent, wrote their own wills (the legal term is a holographic will). This surprised Jones, even more so because this percentage held about the same regardless of gender, age or income.
"There is just so much that might be missed, including the requirement in many, if not most states, that their signature be dated and witnessed, often by two witnesses. A handwritten will invites a challenge from anyone who was left out of it."
"There are so many potential challenges," agrees Kurlowicz, "and at the very least, there will be additional unnecessary expenses if they have to probate a holographic will."
Orman has seen this ambivalence about
a mess behind for heirs before. "Did this
poll surprise me? No, 'cause this is what I've been
dealing with all these years. Yes, it is representative
of what's out there."