“Where there’s a will, there’s _ ___.” Can you fill in the blanks? I bet you can. The proverb, where there’s a will, there’s a way, is something many of us have said or at least heard.
In the work I do as an estate planning attorney, when I hear “Where there’s a will … ,” I immediately think of a last will and testament.
A last will and testament or will is essential for adults to have — because, without one, the court will decide how your property is distributed, who will be the guardian for any minor children you have and dictate other things on your behalf.
Despite the critical nature of relying on a court for personal decisions like these, many Americans still don’t believe it’s important to have a will. If you find yourself thinking, well at least I’m in good company, not having a will, I urge you to excuse yourself from that “good company” and take action.
Interesting Facts About Wills
While it’s true some adults don’t have a will, I see positive changes happening on that front. A recent study from Caring.com, a company that’s been reporting estate plan and will statistics since 2015, shows that more younger adults have a will in place today.
Is this because of COVID-19? The answer is yes, according to Caring.com. It found that 35% of all 18–34-year-olds were motivated by COVID to engage in the estate planning process, compared to only 23% of 35–54-year-olds and 16% of those age 55 and older.
Yet, despite the weighty effects of COVID-19 on society, the overall percentage of Americans with a will did not significantly change since Caring.com shared its last report a year ago. Only two out of three people have a will in place, and this means many adults are leaving their most critical life decisions up to chance — and up to their state’s legal system.
Procrastination Isn’t the Only Reason
We all know what it’s like to put off doing something. (Truth be told, I have a shortlist of things I’m putting off.) Procrastination is one reason why people don’t contact an estate planning attorney for a will. Caring.com’s research shows that, in addition to procrastination, confusion plays a part in people’s reluctance to get a will. In fact, its 2021 research found that, since 2017, the percentage of people who say they don’t know how to get a will increased by a whopping 90%.
One way to dive into the world of wills is to read articles on the topic, such as these on our blog:
- What is a Will and How Can It Help Me?
- Choose “Who Gets What” With a Last Will & Testament
- Differences Between Wills and Trusts
Another way is to get in touch with me to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. In our meeting, which we can do in-person at our Mesa office or by phone or video, you can ask me any question you have about wills. If you decide to move forward, we can talk about what needs to happen next.
Wills and Estate Plans for Arizona Residents
My partner Jacob Fleming and I help clients throughout the Southeast Valley and across the Phoenix metro area with wills and other estate plan needs (e.g., trusts, power of attorney documents, living wills, etc.). We celebrated our legal firm’s third anniversary this summer, and Jacob and I look forward to many more years of working together.
Each day, we work hard to provide sound and timely legal advice to our clients who say they appreciate our honesty and integrity and our down-to-earth demeanors. It’s an honor and privilege to help people in and around our community, and we never forget that.
Where There’s a Will …
The next time you hear someone say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” I hope it prompts you to: a) feel good you have a will in place; or b) call me to set up an appointment! Getting a will or a full estate plan in place offers peace of mind to so many, and I want you to have that peaceful feeling, too.