The Sad State of Estate Planning: Why So Few Have a Will

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Elderly couple receiving financial consultation
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By Jennifer Liu

So you consider yourself a planner, do you? You may have your annual checkups booked through December, funds set aside for that European trip next summer, and a family calendar color-coded to the T.

But getting your estate plans settled? Not so much.

Tasks like creating a will or naming guardians have a tendency to fall off the to-do list for many of us -- even the most organized. New survey results from Everplans confirm it: while 69 percent say they've seriously considered drafting a will, just 34 percent have actually done so.

More than 1 in 4 people who say they're in charge of handling estate plans admit they're not doing a good job of preparing for the unexpected. And among those not in charge, half feel it'd be a struggle to get all the necessary documents together.

Even fewer people are broaching the topic of eldercare arrangements; only one in four have a solid plan in place.

Despite this reluctance to take action, 87 percent of parents say it's important to discuss estate matters with their children.

So what's holding them back?

Turns out, it's not necessarily because discussing end-of-life plans is a taboo topic -- only 18 percent avoid the discussion because it's too depressing.

Instead, a lack of financial know-how seems to be the main culprit. A whopping 95 percent agree that services and access to information about creating estate plans would help them take action.

Looking for some such guidance? Before a heart-to-heart with your parents, read up on how best to approach five eldercare questions everyone should ask.
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