Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Survey Finds Only Half of American Parents Have an Estate Plan

Posted By: Christopher M. Unger
Practice Area: Estate Planning

According to a new survey out yesterday from, only half of all American parents have an Estate plan or a Will. The survey further revealed that of those who do have a Will or other Estate planning document, only 40 percent of those people had updated their Will in the last five years.

The survey also asked adult children if they knew if their parents had an Estate plan, where the Will was kept, and if the children know the contents of the Will. The survey found that more than half of the children surveyed did not know where the Will was or what it said.

As Andy Cohen, CEO of, pointed out, this is a very difficult discussion for families to have, but nonetheless it is an important discussion. Taking the time to create an effective Estate plan now can save time and money, and can adequately address difficult questions before they arise.

While this new survey underscores the importance of having a Will or Estate plan it also highlights some issues for individuals who may already have an Estate plan. It is important that an individual’s Estate plan be kept up to date. As one’s life grows and evolves, these changes can have an impact on the Estes plan. Common life occurrences, such as marriage, divorce, change in jobs, large purchases (like a house or a car), birth of a child or grandchild, or moving from one state to another, can effect an Estate plan. An Estate plan must be updated to reflect these changes in circumstances.

The survey also shows the importance of fighting through the awkwardness and discomfort and having the hard conversation. It is important to discuss Estate planning with your family and loved ones. Adult children should know if their parents have a Will and where the Will is located. Knowing where the Will is can eliminate the time and expense spent searching for the Will in the difficult days after a loved one passes.

An attorney can help to facilitate the difficult conversation and ask questions to facilitate this process. The attorneys at Mountain West Business Law, P.C. can help draft and set up an effective Estate plan, keep the Estate plan up to date, or review and update existing Estate plans.

Check Out the Survey Results from