The Pulse

Americans Burdened By Misconceptions About Estate Planning

Most don’t have a will, but interest is on the rise due to the pandemic

A new survey from Policygenius shows 40% of survey respondents (39.7%) said they feel it’s more important to get a will because of the pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on almost every facet of American life this year. Access the full report here.

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Lack of understanding around estate planning may be leading Americans to avoid getting a will, even as interest is on the rise due to the global pandemic, according to a new survey from financial services leader Policygenius.

The survey found that a majority of people (60.4%) did not have a will, but that may be about to change. Nearly 40% of survey respondents (39.7%) said they feel it’s more important to get a will because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on almost every facet of American life this year.

However, many respondents also held misconceptions about the process of creating a will that may be leading them to avoid estate planning. The survey found that more than one in five respondents (22.8%) who think getting a will is too expensive overestimated the cost of securing a will by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Additionally, nearly half (48.2%) of respondents incorrectly believed that their possessions would automatically pass to their spouse if they passed away without a will, suggesting that people may not be creating wills because they assume they don’t need them.

Time was also a barrier for respondents, particularly those with families. About one in four people (24.1%) said they don’t have a will because they haven’t had time to put one together, and more than half of those respondents (62%) were parents.

“Estate planning can feel like a complex or time-consuming effort, but for the average American family, it’s usually more straightforward than expected,” Jennifer Fitzgerald, CEO and co-founder of Policygenius, said. “It’s difficult to overstate the importance of estate planning as a way to secure financial peace of mind and make sure your family is taken care of, especially in what’s been a very challenging year for many.”

The Policygenius Estate Planning Survey also found:

  • Respondents prioritized family, with more than one in three respondents (35.9%) saying that having a child is the most important life event for someone if they want to create a will.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65.5%) of respondents cited making the process of inheritance as easy as possible as one of their top three important issues when getting a will.
  • Only 39.3% of respondents knew that if someone passes away without a will, a court will determine who gets their belongings.
Nearly 40% of respondents said they feel it's more important to create a will because of Covid-19...

Earlier this year, Policygenius announced the launch of a mobile app that enables consumers to create wills and trusts conveniently on their phones. To assist customers who feel they don’t have time to make a will, the Policygenius app breaks down the estate planning process into small, manageable steps that take five to 15 minutes each. Each step is also accompanied by educational content to help consumers understand the process and counter confusion. Consumers can also shop for life and home insurance from the app, creating a mobile one-stop shop for key financial protection needs.

“We launched our estate planning service this year as a way to digitize and demystify the process of getting a will, just as we’ve done with insurance,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s clear there’s a need for greater convenience and education when it comes to estate planning, and we’re thrilled to bring our strengths in those areas to wills and trusts. As we continue to grow, we’re looking forward to continuing our mission of helping consumers get financial protection right.”

Policygenius’ survey is based on responses from a nationally representative sample of 2,689 Americans ages 25 and over. It was conducted by SurveyMonkey from July 16 through July 17, 2020. You can read the full report here.




About Policygenius:
Policygenius is the nation’s leading online insurance marketplace, with headquarters in New York City and Durham, North Carolina. We’ve helped more than 30 million people shop for all types of insurance like they shop for everything else — online — and have placed over $60 billion in coverage. Policygenius launched in 2014 and is one of the early insurtech pioneers. Policygenius launched wills and trusts through a new mobile app in 2020. Policygenius was named to Forbes’ list of Best Startup Employers (2020), Crain’s Fast 50 (2019) and Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces (2018, 2019, 2020). Visit Policygenius website here.