There are a lot of reasons that people put off writing their wills. Maybe they've simply never thought about -- or maybe they don't want to think about dying.
Whatever the reason, around 60 percent of American adults are currently without wills. However, those numbers change a bit when you look closer at certain demographics. Around 58 percent of people between the ages of 53 and 71 have a will, while 81 percent of people aged 72 or older have theirs.
So, what is it (aside from age) that finally spurs someone into action and convinces them to get their estate plans in order?
1. A health crisis
For some people, a health crisis makes them suddenly confront their mortality -- and the possibility that they could leave their loved ones without direction if they suddenly die. Health crises can include a sudden need for surgery combined with the fear of what might happen while you're under anesthesia. Others may have a cancer scare or get a serious diagnosis of a life-altering disease.
2. A change in family situation
Two of the top events that motivate people to get their estate plans in order are weddings and the birth of a child. A spouse or a child can each be a tremendous blessing, but they also bring many responsibilities. A marriage or the birth of a child can make you suddenly realize that the carefree days of your youth are passing -- and that may encourage you to make sure that your loved ones are cared for if something happens to you.
3. Another person's death
When a family member or friend suddenly dies, it can make everyone else realize just how fragile life really is. If you've suddenly become more aware of your own mortality after experiencing the loss of a loved one, you aren't alone.
Estate planning isn't just for the old or the sick. It's something everyone should do -- no matter what their age or situation. Take the time to do what's necessary to protect your loved ones once you are gone.