2022 Wills & Estate Planning Study finds procrastination and lack of assets are common barriers to engaging in the estate planning process

Charlotte, NC April 11, 2022Caring.com, a leading senior living referral service and the nation’s top site for senior care reviews, has published its annual Wills & Estate Planning Study to share insight into the prevalence of estate planning and the reasons Americans give for neglecting this critical process. The 2022 study generated responses from over 2,600 American adults and highlights the behavior and attitudes of individuals from various socio-economic backgrounds. Caring’s report is an ongoing effort to raise awareness about the benefits and importance of estate planning. 

According to the findings, only 33 percent of Americans have a will or living trust. When asked why they neglected estate planning, the most common reason given was simple procrastination, with forty percent saying they simply haven’t gotten around to it, while 1 in 3 said they don’t have enough assets to pass along to loved ones. Additionally, 13 percent said the estate planning process is too costly and 12 percent of those without wills said they didn’t know how to get one. 

Top earners and highly educated Americans are more likely to cite procrastination as the reason for not creating a will. Of those without estate planning documents, 63 percent who make $80,000 or more a year say they “just haven’t gotten around” to preparing an estate plan. Likewise, 2 out of 3 Americans with postgraduate degrees claim that one of the main reasons they have neglected the estate planning process is also simple procrastination. In contrast, respondents in the lowest income bracket and those without a college education are much more likely to neglect estate planning because of a perceived lack of assets.  

“While most people will agree that having a will or designating a beneficiary is important, there are still too many neglecting this crucial step,” says Jim Rosenthal, CEO of Caring.com. “Whether people are simply procrastinating or they are uneducated about the importance of estate planning for all, we encourage them to start the process, and provide education on how to get started.”  

Age is also a contributing factor to how people engage in end-of-life planning. Data results show that 41 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 have not yet talked to anyone about starting the estate planning process. Similarly, 1 out of 3 respondents aged 35 to 54 says they have not talked to anyone about estate planning. More adults aged 55 and older have considered end of life plans, and 3 out of 4 say they have discussed getting a will.

Despite the age disparity among Americans who consider estate planning, the number of young adults with a living will or estate plan has increased by 50 percent since early 2020. The study indicates that only 16 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 had an estate planning document before the pandemic, but this year 24 percent of young adults claim to have a will. 

Caring.com has conducted its wills study since 2015 to educate families and raise awareness about the estate planning process. All 2022 figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov PLC. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults aged 18+ with a total sample size of 2,644. The survey was carried out online, and fieldwork was undertaken between December 21st and 23rd, 2021. To review survey results, infographics, and estate planning basics, visit https://www.caring.com/caregivers/estate-planning/wills-survey/

With millions of website visitors, Caring.com is a leading senior living referral service and the nation’s top site for senior care reviews. Founded in 2007, Caring’s mission is to help as many seniors and their caregivers as possible through empathetic, expert guidance. Applying cutting-edge technology to this humane mission, Caring provides relevant senior care information and support, as well as comprehensive senior living and senior care directories for the United States, including more than 350,000 consumer reviews. Through a toll-free referral line at (877) 630-3480, Caring’s trustworthy, nationwide team of Family Advisors — who are among the most highly trained, highly skilled, and knowledgeable experts in senior care — helps seniors and their families research and connect to the most appropriate services and support for their specific situations. For more information about our organization and our free services for seniors and their families, please visit http://www.caring.com/about and join with Caring on Facebook.