Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Center for Rural Pennsylvania: Survey of Written Wills

WillsA survey conducted in September 2023 by Susquehanna Polling and Research reveals that less than half of rural and urban adults in Pennsylvania have a written will outlining their wishes for handling money and estate after death. 

The poll involved 700 registered voters in Pennsylvania and was conducted from September 19-28, 2023, with a margin of error of +/-3.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Respondents unsure if they had a written will were excluded from the analysis.

The analysis indicates that age and educational attainment play a role, with older and more educated individuals being more likely to have a written will. The top reason for not having a will is the perception of not needing one, mainly due to insufficient assets or the belief that the family will inherit everything. The survey also shows variations based on gender and race, with men and white individuals more likely to have a written will. Additionally, urban residents with higher educational levels are more likely to possess a will. 

Recognizing individuals' desires for asset distribution after death is crucial for families and presents an opportunity for community foundations. These organizations could benefit from potential benefactors' assets through basic planning efforts, contributing to community development. The study highlights that 46 percent of rural Pennsylvanians with a written will align with the national rate.

For more information see Survey of Written Wills”, Center for Rural Pennsylvania, November 2023.


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