A disconcerting new report from Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave found that only 55 percent of Americans aged 55 or older have wills. Only 18 percent have the three recommended essentials — a will, health care directive and durable power of attorney.
Respondents with $1 million or more in investable assets were the most prepared — 41 percent of them had taken care of the three essentials, compared with 27 percent for those with $250,000 to just under $1 million in assets. But even for this group, that’s still less than half.
Passing on values and lessons was considered the most important part of one’s legacy, cited by 59 percent of respondents. Asked to identify what they want to be remembered for, respondents overwhelmingly said it was the memories they shared with loved ones (70 percent) rather than the wealth they had accumulated (5 percent).