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Majority of Americans’ Wills Aren’t Up to Date

A will & testament rolled up

Perhaps you pride yourself on having taken the time to create a will. However, a will that is critically out of date may not end up carrying out your wishes after your death. If you’re like the majority of Americans, life events or changes in the law may have rendered your will out-of-date.

While studies often look at the rate of Americans who have created a will, few explore whether or not those wills have been maintained as needed. As a result, statistics such as the one from Gallup Polls reporting that 55% of Americans have created a will don’t accurately portray the number of individuals with wills that will carry out their wishes by distributing their possessions to those nearest and dearest to them.

Wills can become out-of-date for a number of reasons. Some of the most significant ways that wills can become outdated is through major changes in relationship status such as marriage or divorce, or the birth of children. However, many other changes can affect the accuracy and completeness of a will, such as the acquisition of major assets like a home, a substantial change in income level, changes in laws governing estate distribution and taxation, or the decay of a relationship with a family member or friend once included in your will.

Study finds many wills outdated

USLegalWills.com conducted a study that explored whether over 2,000 survey participants aged 18 and up had created a will, and whether that will had been updated since survey participants had gotten married or had children. The survey asked participants their age and personal information such as their marital status and income, whether or not the participants had a will, and when in their life they had created that will. According to survey results, only 28% of adults in the US have up-to-date wills. In fact, only 5% of those between 18 and 24, and 14% of those between 25 and 35, had up-to-date wills. While it may come as no surprise that young people are less inclined to understand the need to create a will, even older individuals were found to lack necessary estate planning documents. Among respondents between age 55 and 64, only 40% had an up-to-date will, and among those over 65, roughly half of respondents had kept their will updated. Ensure that your will is up-to-date and an accurate representation of your wishes through regular check-ins with an experienced estate planning attorney.

If you believe that your Kentucky will or estate plan may need to be updated to reflect your current financial state or relationships, speak with a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that it represents your wishes; in Louisville, contact John Ruby & Associates for a consultation at 502-895-2626.