FindLaw surveys are well known for delving into legal issues and questions that affect a broad spectrum of Americans. The latest FindLaw survey asked individuals about estate planning and specifically, about wills. The survey found as important as it is, most Americans say they do not have a will. In fact over half, 55%, of American adults say they do not have a will.

Not surprisingly, the numbers are higher among younger people. The FindLaw survey found that as few as one in six people between the ages of 18 and 34 have a will. However, as we age, most of us consider the necessity of planning for the future more seriously. Of those Americans 55 and older, most have written their will. These numbers have been remarkably unchanged since FindLaw first started tracking them in 2001.

Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and Team Lead for the Social Media Team in FindLaw’s Sunnyvale, California, office offers some thoughts on the importance of the survey’s findings. “The survey found that people who are older, married and have higher incomes are more likely to have a will,” Rahlfs said. “But one doesn’t necessarily need to have substantial assets or a family in order to need a will. Anyone who has specific concerns or plans as to how they would like their estate distributed in the event of their death should consult with an attorney about whether a will is appropriate.”

Since a will is the primary instrument used for estate planning, anyone with children or any possession they would like to have taken care of in a certain way should consider making a will. Without a will, the laws of the state and the decisions of a probate court where you live may determine how your estate is distributed.

Of course, more news and information on estate planning, wills and estate planning attorneys can always be found at

— Michelle Croteau, Director, Marketing Communications
with Tanya Roth, FindLaw Portal Team

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