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New Study Reveals Lack of Preparedness Around Estate Planning

Only 32% of workers have a will and only 53% have an estate plan

A new study of 10,000 US workers announced the results of its inaugural “State of Estate Planning” report. The findings. from the Wealth study, reveal surprising insights about the landscape of estate planning services, and identify opportunities for employers to offer estate planning benefits to employees to help people secure their families financial future.

The survey gathered opinions from 10,000 employed adults across the US – one of the largest estate planning studies to date – and uncovered several insights, including:

  • Estate planning is inaccessible to most people.
    • Seventy percent of survey respondents said that they want to pass down wealth to their loved ones, yet only 53% of respondents currently have an estate plan – even worse, only 32% have a will in place. This indicates an accessibility gap for estate planning services. Despite the high percentage of people who want estate planning, barely half have been able to create a plan.
    • Among people who do not have an estate plan, 63% said that they’ve considered doing an estate plan in the past, yet 46% don’t know how to start. People of color (POC) in particular face accessibility barriers. POC are 14% less likely to have an estate plan in place than non-POC respondents.

Bottom line: Most people see the value in estate planning, but they don’t always know how to begin, or where to go for help.

  • Misperceptions about estate planning are hurting families.
    • The #1 factor that is holding people back from securing their financial legacies – and consequently, putting loved ones at risk, is the idea that estate planning should be done “in the future” instead of now. This may be due to the fact that 45% of respondents said they avoid thinking about death,
    • Another misperception is that estate planning is only for extremely wealthy people. According to the study, 42% are more likely to cite not owning anything valuable and 30% more likely to say they don’t have enough money saved as reasons for why they don’t have a plan.

Bottom line: Everyone, regardless of income or net worth, can create an estate plan and also benefit from it, even at the level of writing a will.

  • HR is overlooking an essential financial benefit for employees.
    • As employers look to evolve their benefits packages, they need to shine a light on estate planning. Only 13% of survey respondents said that they receive estate planning as an employee benefit, and 72% of respondents who do not have an estate plan said they’d be more likely to set up an estate planning if these services were offered via their employer.

Bottom line: Employers already invest heavily in supporting and protecting their employees’ finances, with benefits like insurance and retirement savings plans. There is a massive gap in the market for estate planning as an employee benefit. Offering estate planning services via employee benefits programs could help more people get access to estate planning and take the steps necessary to secure their financial legacies.

“Our State of Estate Planning study shows that there are big opportunities to expand access to estate planning services to more people, and help more employees protect their financial legacies for their loved ones,” said Rafael Loureiro, co-founder and CEO of Wealth. “Estate planning should not only be available to high net worth households. Employees of all income levels and walks of life can benefit from financial clarity and emotional peace of mind that comes with having an estate plan. This important, life-affirming activity is one of the most critical parts of the ongoing financial planning process.”

The State of Estate Planning 2022: Study Methodology
Research findings are based on a survey commissioned by Wealth and conducted in the U.S. by WALR in partnership with Manifest from Dec. 16, 2021, to Jan. 1, 2022. We posed 30-plus questions to 10,000 respondents ages 30-55 who are employed and have a household income of more than $100,000. 

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Carl Fox

Carl Fox is the senior money and finance writer for Conservative Daily News. Follow him in the "Money & The Economy" section at CDN and see his posts on the "Junior Economists" Facebook page.

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