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University of Arizona creates program to make writing wills easier

In 2021, reports show that only 46% of Americans had a will
Posted at 6:42 AM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 09:42:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The average life expectancy in the United States is experiencing the steepest decline in a century. Life expectancy has decreased by nearly three years, from 78.8 years in 2019 to 76.1 years in 2021.

The CDC says that this is because of excess deaths due to covid-19.

Writing your will is something that many people put off, sometimes before it is too late. Last year, reports show that only 46% of Americans had a will.

“A very large fraction of Americans die without a will. Probably for two reasons, one is people don’t like to confront mortality which is understandable and the second is just the cost and complexity of legal estate planning services," said Derek Bambauer, University of Arizona Law Professor.

Five steps to writing a will:

  1. Find an estate planning attorney or use a do-it-yourself software program.
  2. Select beneficiaries for your will.
  3. Choose the executor for your will.
  4. Pick a guardian for your kids.
  5. Be specific about who gets what.

Finding a program to help writing your will is going to now become much more accessible. A team of University of Arizona researchers created a new software system to make writing your will easier.

The software program is going to understand the language of a document such as a will to flag errors whether you are writing your own or if you have an attorney who is drafting it.

University of Arizona researchers pitched this idea twice to the National Science Foundation. The second time around they were awarded $750,000. The program will be free to use and is expected to launch in the next two years.

Brooke Chau is a reporter for KGUN 9. She was a part of Fresno State's newscast, Fresno State Focus and interned at KFSN-ABC30 in Fresno, CA before coming to KGUN 9. Share your story ideas and important issues with Brooke by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.