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More than half of U.S. adults don't have a will

If you don't yet have a will, you're not alone. More than half of American adults don't have a will or living trust, according to a recent study by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

While older adults are more likely to have wills than younger adults are, close to 20 percent of Americans over age 70 still don't have wills, either

About one thousand adults participated in the survey. Some of the survey's findings, as reported by Caring.com, include:

  • 42 percent of U.S. adults have a will, trust or other estate plan.
  • Only 36 percent of parents with children under age 18 have wills.
  • 22 percent of millennials (aged 18 to 36) have wills.
  • 81 percent of people 72 or older have a will.

Why don't more people have wills? Nearly half of those without a plan reported to surveyers that they were, essentially, procrastinating. Other factors could include how many assets someone has - someone with few assets might not think it's important to have a plan for protecting them if they die.

But one of the most unsettling findings from the survey is how few parents of young children have wills, meaning that they don't have a plan to establish a guardian in the event that they die before their children turn 18.

Regardless of your age, assets and family structure, if you don't have a will or trust, you're running a risk that the government will determine what happens to your assets, and potentially your children, after you die. You're never too young to make sure your wishes control what happens after your death.

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