What You Need to Know
- For 18% of respondents, these were first-time discussions about such topics as finances, health and legal plans.
- While 71% of respondents 50 and older believe that making a will is the most important action before someone dies, only 49% have one.
- Only 19% of older adults have a will, health care directive/living will and designated power of attorney in place.
A third of U.S. adults report that the pandemic prompted conversations with family members about their end-of-life plans and preferences, according to a recent survey from Edward Jones in partnership with Age Wave.
For 18% — 44.5 million Americans — these were first-time discussions about such topics as finances, health and legal plans.
Two-thirds of survey participants also reported that the pandemic has made them give more thought to the legacy they want to leave their families.
Sixty-four percent of those 50 and older said they want to leave lasting memories from shared experiences, 43% want to impart life lessons and values, and 32% want to leave an inheritance.
What Your Peers Are Reading
“It’s no surprise that the pandemic made Americans more acutely aware of the need for discussions around end-of-life planning,” Edward Jones principal Alison Carnie said in a statement. “We are encouraged that these tough conversations are happening more frequently, especially for individuals who did not have plans in place pre-pandemic.”
The Harris Poll conducted the nationally representative online survey within the U.S. in August among 2,020 adults.
Intention vs. Action
The survey found that the effects of the pandemic resulted in nearly 50 million Americans halting or reducing contributions to retirement savings. Thirty-eight million more withdrew money from retirement savings.
At the same time, 59 million Americans began contributing more to their retirement savings.
The survey underscored the gap between intention and action among a majority of Americans 50 and older. Seventy-one percent believe that having a will in place is the most important action to take before someone dies, yet only 49% actually have one. And only 19% of older adults have all three essential end-of-life documents in place: a will, health care directive/living will and designated power of attorney.