SOURCE: LegalZoom

LegalZoom

October 13, 2009 08:06 ET

Adults Living Without a Last Will Are in "Estate of Confusion"

LegalZoom Survey Reveals Misconceptions About When and Why One Should Create a Last Will

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - October 13, 2009) - A recent survey(1) conducted by Insight Express for LegalZoom.com found that many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. Perhaps because of this misconception, the survey found that 67% of adults do not have a Last Will and Testament.

It seems the majority of adults aren't creating a Last Will because of confusion surrounding the terminology. Almost half (47%) of the respondents did not know that the "estate" part of estate planning could refer to any possession from grandpa's gold watch to the family sedan. When queried further about the meaning, 20% thought estate planning applied specifically to real estate, while another 4% responded that estate planning was just for millionaires.

Brian Liu, co-founder and chairman of LegalZoom.com, says he's not surprised by the results, but he is disappointed that more people haven't been able to create a Last Will to their benefit. Liu explains, "Estate planning is for everyone, and it can be easy and affordable." He adds, "Instead of a probate court ruling that a family home or heirloom must be sold and profits divided three ways amongst siblings, a Last Will lets you decide what's best for your family. If you want to keep something in the family for multiple generations to come, a Last Will can help ensure this happens."

The misconceptions didn't stop at terminology. The majority of respondents (85%) did not know that without a will in place at the time of death, any assets are frozen until a probate court hearing. One in three (31%) respondents wrongly assumed that their assets will automatically go to their spouse, while 17% admitted they didn't know what would happen to their possessions.

"A big part of what we're trying to do at LegalZoom is empower ordinary Americans to take full advantage of legal documents to protect their families and themselves," Liu says. "Demystifying legal documents and confusing terminology is an important part of this."

These 2009 survey results are unchanged compared to LegalZoom's 2007 survey results.

Visit www.LegalZoom.com today for information about estate planning options and more.

About LegalZoom.com

Launched in 2001 by a founding team that includes famed attorney Robert Shapiro, LegalZoom.com (www.legalzoom.com) has become the nation's leading online legal service. LegalZoom merges innovative technology with personalized service to deliver a simple, cost-effective way to take care of common legal needs. LegalZoom offerings include: Wills, Living Wills, Incorporation, LLC Formation, Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Divorce, Small Claims, Trademarks, Patents, Copyrights and more. LegalZoom.com is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice or counsel.

(1) Insight Express survey of 502 respondents conducted on August 13, 2009.

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