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Americans have trouble with end-of-life planning

Pennsylvania residents may have heard that over half of Americans don't have a will. That was according to a study that found only 42 percent of those living in the United States had estate planning documents. However, there was a relationship between a person's age and the likelihood that there was some sort of estate plan in place. The survey found that 81 percent of those 72 or older had a will or living trust.

Of those who were between the ages of 18 and 36, 78 percent did not have a will while 64 percent of people between the ages of 37 and 52 had a will. The data further revealed that 40 percent of people between the ages of 53 and 71 did not have a will or living trust. Most people who said that they didn't have an estate plan said that they simply hadn't gotten around to it yet.

Those who study the issue say that younger people don't think that they need a will or that their parents will step in if something happens to them. Baby boomers may know that they need to come up with a plan but are not yet ready to confront their mortality. They may also face tough estate planning questions that they aren't ready to answer yet.

A will or trust may provide an individual with control over how assets are passed down or used after he or she passes on. They may be created at any age, and wills and other documents may be altered at any point as long as the changes adhere to state law. Those who wish to create an estate plan or want to review a current one may wish to talk with an attorney who has experience with these matters.

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