Nearly Half Of All Americans Over the Age of 55 Don’t Have A Will

Also, only 18 percent of seniors have a will, health care directives, and power of attorney selected.

will retirement death.
Nearly half of Americans over 55 don't have a will in place for when they die. (Getty)
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A new study published by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that nearly half of Americans over the age of 55 still don’t have a will in place for when they die.

In addition, according to Forbes, only 18 percent of those 55-plus have all their end-of-life ducks in a row, meaning they have a will, health care directives in place, and a power of attorney selected.

Kevin Hindman, the Managing Director and National Trust Executive at Merrill Lynch, thinks there could be a couple of contributing factors to this lack of planning. People tend to be more concerned about the memories shared by loved ones and less about how much money they’re leaving their offspring. Also, discussions about death have become less taboo so, as more families open up about the topic, it doesn’t seem so imminent and the need for a will can end up seeming hasty or macabre.

“It’s more important to actually take the action and modify as appropriate, instead of waiting until the perfect time,” Hindman explained.

Hindman suggested working with a financial advisor to discuss short and long-term care options as well as trust or life insurance planning. Talking to friends or family who have lost someone and handled an estate matter could also be a great starting point.

Finally, talk to a lawyer—they’ll help you determine which estate laws apply to you and help with your planning.

“A legacy is one of the best gifts we can give to those we love,” Hindman said.

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