The Percent of Adult Americans With an Estate Plan Has Decreased Since 2017 – Despite Covid

  • Estate Planning
the number of Americans with an estate plan has decreased since 2017 - despite Covid 19 | Estate and Probate Legal Group

The largest generational wealth transfer in U.S. history will happen in the next 25 years. Experts expect an “inheritance boom” and US$68 trillion will pass from one generation to the next – often, to Baby Boomers, or from Baby Boomers.’s 2021 wills and estate planning survey found that many Americans don’t have a will – and that the number of people with an estate plan has decreased since 2017:

  • The percentage of adult Americans with estate planning documents decreased from 42% in 2017 to 33% in 2021
  • The number of young adults with a will increased by 63% since 2020
  • In 2021, 18-34 year-olds are, for the first time, more likely to have a will than 35 – 54 year-olds
  • Despite COVID-19, the overall percentage of Americans with a will has not significantly changed

If you do not have a will or other estate plan in place, probate costs to settle your estate could be 3% to 8% of the total value of all your assets – wealth that could have been passed to your heirs. The survey also found:

  • 1/3 of Black and Hispanics have a will
  • 6.2% increase of Black Americans with a will from 2020 to 2021
  • 12% increase of Hispanics with a will from 2020 to 2021
  • the number of White Americans with a will remained unchanged

The survey attributed some of the change in estate planning statistics to the Covid pandemic, and individuals realizing they are not prepared if they die unexpectedly. While most people said having an estate plan is important to them, they also said the #1 reason they don’t have a will is procrastination.

When you die without a will, it’s called dying intestate. An up-to-date will is the best way to tell your family and loved ones how you want your assets handled, and to legally make sure your wishes are carried out. When someone in Illinois dies without a will, the state will determine how your assets will be distributed.

If you die without a will, not only does the state determine who will inherit your assets, your heirs will receive less money due to the cost to settle your estate, and it will take time and cause stress while your heirs wait for their inheritance. On average, probate in Illinois takes from 6 months to several years.

Key Findings of’s 2021 Estate Planning and Wills Survey (infographic)

Key Findings of’s 2021 Estate Planning and Wills Survey (infographic)

Are Your Assets Protected? Are You Tired of Procrastinating? Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney

Failure to plan can cost your loved ones money, and cause them additional time and stress. Contact the qualified attorneys at Estate & Probate Legal Group in Oak Brook Illinois today at 630-864-5835. 

AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties