Estate Planning Statistics

November 14, 2022

While the pandemic has increased the overall estate planning activity, many Maryland residents still do not have a plan in place. The statistics are consistent with other states and the country as a whole shows that only 32% of Americans have a will ( Some other interesting statistics related to the field of estate planning:

Federal Estate Taxes

It is estimated that $59 trillion will be transferred from 94 million estates between 2007 and 2061 according to a study conducted at Boston College. Of this $59 trillion, $5.6 trillion will be collected by the IRS in the form of federal estate taxes. This number is difficult to accurately predict as the federal exemption amount fluctuates based on changing laws.

Estate Planning by Age

According to Gallup polls, a will is in place for those in the following age brackets:

- 14% between the ages of 18 and 29.

- 35% between the ages of 30 and 49.

- 56% between the ages of 50 and 64.

- 68% ages 65 and older.

Only 33% over the age of 55 have a durable power of attorney in place, and 41% over the age of 55 have end-of-life advance directives.

While 77% of adults believe that estate planning is important for anyone regardless of their wealth, statistics show that more adults actually complete an estate plan if they have a degree of higher education and have household incomes greater than $75,000. Most Americans believe leaving behind an inheritance is the right thing to do. Some are motivated by the need to provide for future generations while others want to prevent burdening loved ones with unpaid expenses and end-of-life costs. Fifty-two percent of Americans over 55 believe passing away without an estate plan is “irresponsible”, twenty-two percent say it is “inconsiderate” and fourteen percent say it is “ignorant” (Merrill Lynch).


Why do so many people put off writing a will? The majority (74%) use the excuse that it is too confusing. The remaining 36% simply say they have not gotten around to it yet. A lot of the confusion surround the issue of believing that you need a certain amount of assets in order for it to make sense. Confusion around the costs and how to find the right estate planning attorney also exists.

Covid-19 Impact

The search phrase “online will” was searched on Google more times in April 2020 than any other time. More Maryland residents find that creating a will is more important now as a result of the pandemic. More adult children are encouraging their elderly parents to create a will now as well.

Every estate plan should take into account the following four considerations:

1. What do you want to happen to your assets when you pass away?

2. How will you continue to support your family after you die?

3. How can you avoid unnecessary legal, tax and other financial burdens?

4. What can you do to ensure your healthcare, legal and financial matters are taken care should you become disabled or incapacitated?

For more information, contact the estate planning attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at

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