Only Half of American Parents Have a Will

KUSA - Finances are difficult to discuss with parents, but a new survey reveals how terribly important it is to fight through the potential awkwardness.
Only half of American parents have a living trust document or will, according to a survey.
Over those who have a will, only 40 percent have updated it within the last five years. A quarter of adult children surveyed did not know if their parents ever updated their will, and 16 percent of adult children did not know if their parents even had a will.
More than half of adult children surveyed said they did not know where their parents' estate documents are kept and did not know the contents of the documents.
According to the survey, women tend to be more informed about their parents' wills, but men are more likely to know where the documents are kept.
"Wills and estate documents can be a touchy subject, but they are necessary conversations to have," Andy Cohen, CEO of, said. "Too often the surviving family members are left not knowing where to find the documents, or worse, have to go through a lengthy and expensive legal process because no documents were ever created."
While adults 18 to 49 years old are the least likely to be informed about their parents' documents, adults 50 years and older don't fare much better. Twenty-nine percent of 50 to 64 year olds don't know where their parents' documents are stored and 38 percent don't know the contents. For those 65 and older, 23 percent don't know where the documents are stored and a startling 44 percent don't know the contents.
"This is clearly not just a millennial issue," Cohen said. "It's sad to say, but most middle-aged Americans will likely have a parent who is nearing the end of their life. Remember, your parents are going to have bank accounts, a house and other assets that will need to be taken care of in a timely manner. Having the documents in place before tragedy strikes will make the aftermath much less stressful and will save money in the long run."
Interestingly enough, Republicans are more likely to have a parent with a will or living trust than Democrats and Independents.
Review the entire survey here:
(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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