With all of the discussion this week about estate planning, I wanted to do a poll regarding wills. It is a pretty straightforward question, but I broke it down into two categories: with or without children. As always, feel free to elaborate in the comments, and I’ll chime in after some time has passed to share my answer and with a few stats regarding wills.
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.
I like how almost every comment on here about not having a will is "it's on my to do list" lol. You'd think taking a few hours or even one day to ensure you protect your family would be worth it. Once it's done, you don't have to update unless you have some major life changes.
I don't have one, but it is on my to do list :)
My wife and I actually have Trust and a Will. I am 28 and she is 27. The will is obvious and the trust we have the house and the 401ks and all that stuff that belongs in a trust. So I assume we are ahead in the curve, but I feel pretty good about that. We had it done about a year ago now.
I'm a bit too old to fall into the "Gen X" category but I thought I'd chime in anyway.
My wife & I don't have wills yet, but we're planning to do so very soon as we're adopting a child (perhaps siblings) in the coming few months. We've already made guardianship arrangments though.
I agree with Zook, as when children enter the picture, drafting a will is too easy NOT to do for the added protection and control it will provide.
For me personally, I'm married, but without kids. So, we don't have a will. The reason is that our only real asset aside from money is our home, which because it is owned JTWROS, if something were to happen to either one of us, the spouse would obtain 100% ownership. Outside of the house and two almost worthless vehicles, our assets are tied up into accounts that have beneficiaries on file, so again, a will isn't needed to transfer those assets.
And I know this is a limited sample of data across a relatively narrow demographic, but the numbers are not shocking at all. According to a 2001 survey done by FindLaw, only about 40% of all Americans have a will, and only about 34% of those with children have a will.
With a readership that is still young, primarily without children, it is no surprise to see roughly only 23% of all readers with a will, and 67% that do have children, also have a will.
If you got some serious money and kids, there is NO good reason you shouldn't have estate planning in place.
Would the 11% that answered 'No - With Kids' really want your state to appoint guardianship? They can't figure out how to pave roads and fund schools, but without a will THEY WILL be deciding the fate of your kids.
What's sad is when I first saw this in my reader I thought it said "Do you have a Wii", not "Will". What does that say about my priorities?
No, we don't have a will just yet but we do have Willmaker sitting on the floor next to the desk. I guess that doesn't count though.
We don't but it is on the todo list and we've been talking about it. Also, we just ordered the Quicken 2008 update which comes with Willmaker 2008. Since we have no children, that should be sufficient.
Definitely on my list of things to do since I have two children, but I guess I still feel a bit invincible at my "relatively" young age. (Hey, I FEEL young OK???)
I don't have a will, its in the plans, along with fixing up my house, improving my blog, etc, etc. Its not exactly a priority as if I pop my clogs before I write one, it won't be the end of the world.