Last won’t: 3 in 5 adults don’t have a will prepared

NEW YORK — Most Americans are not prepared for life after death, at least when it comes to figuring out who gets their stuff. A new survey finds that 60% of adults do not have a will ready for when the end comes.

The study of 2,000 adults between ages 18 and 51, commissioned by Brookdale Senior Living, also shows that half of the respondents have no plan in place for when they retire, although 60% of them said the discussion of senior life topics is “necessary.” Meanwhile, three in 10 aren’t even sure if their own parents have a will, and among those who do, 40% aren’t sure what’s in it.

“The results of this survey mirror what we at Brookdale see every day; many people are simply not prepared for the later stages of life,” says Lucinda “Cindy” Baier, president and CEO of Brookdale Senior Living, in a statement.

So when is the right time to come to terms on a plan for old age and beyond? Participants said that people should start plotting out their retirement and senior years by the age of 48, on average. Of those surveyed who were over 50 years old, however, half admitted they had no plans in place.

In fact, 70% said they haven’t started setting money aside for senior or nursing homes, though 35% expect to be able to afford senior living facilities when they’re older. Nearly half of those surveyed (46%) plan on using their savings to cover senior living facilities costs.

Two in five respondents said they haven’t spoken to their children about their later years and a significant portion have not given their financial plans any thought. Perhaps even more concerning is that half of those surveyed said they haven’t had a conversation with their parents about how they’re going to care for them in their later years. That’s despite the fact that 58% fear what might happen should their folks be living without assistance and aren’t sure how they’ll cope when that day comes.

One in ten participants don’t even know what to do should a parent suffer a medical emergency, or pass away suddenly.

“Having a conversation about senior living can be stressful for many people but, as this survey shows, it’s necessary for families to have this discussion,” says Baier. “Starting from an understanding of what your loved one needs makes it easier.”

The survey was conducted by OnePoll in April 2019.

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