Approximately 55 percent of American adults do not have a will or other estate plan in place, according to LexisNexis. This number has stayed relatively steady during the 2000s, even as the number of other estate planning documents Americans have -- like medical directives -- has increased. Among minorities, the numbers are higher than in the general population: 68 percent of black adults and 74 percent of Hispanic adults do not have one.
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Although everyone dies eventually, not everyone leaves a last will and testament in place -- or even knows how they would go about making one, according to research by legal resource center LexisNexis. Statistics on last wills and testaments show that if you're confused about your will, you're not alone. Talking to an attorney who practices estate law in your state can help you avoid becoming one of these statistics.
A living will or medical directive is not a will that distributes your property when you die. Instead, it is a document that explains what medical care you wish to receive if you are incapacitated. The number of American adults with living wills increased between 2004 and 2007, rising from 31 percent in 2004 to 41 percent in 2007, according to LexisNexis. Meanwhile, 38 percent of adults have a healthcare power of attorney, which gives another person power to make your healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated.