It has always been the case that far too many Americans delay getting wills longer than they reasonably should. The main reasons for that have changed over time.
There has never been a particularly good reason why an adult should not have a will. Most people would like to have some say over what happens to their property after they pass away. A will is the primary means of doing so. Nevertheless, surveys show that 64% of American adults do not have wills.
That is nothing new.
Americans have always delayed getting wills and many never get them at all. However, things are not the same as they used to be. The main reasons that people delay getting wills today, are different than the reasons that they delayed getting wills in 1927.
This story is reported by Wealth Management in “Now and Then: Why People Procrastinate Making Wills.”
In 1927, the main reason people did not get wills was a superstition that planning for their own death would hasten it. Other reasons included not wanting to sort out who would get their possessions, a feeling that they were not capable of making a will and the cost of getting legal advice and procrastination.
Some of reasons are still similar, except for the superstition.
People now delay getting wills because they think they are too young to do so, that they do not have enough wealth for a will or because they procrastinate.
Whatever the reasons for not getting a will, people in 1927 should have gotten one. People today should do so as well.
Reference: Wealth Management (Feb. 2, 2017) “Now and Then: Why People Procrastinate Making Wills.”