Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Survey Says...": The Test

How savvy are you about the views or status of Americans on matters of taxes and their personal & estate planning?

I constructed the following multiple-choice questions from results reported by national surveys conducted in 2005, 2006, or 2007 by reputable polling organizations, sponsored & posted by well-known companies.

Test your knowledge (or your impressions) by answering the questions below. I will reveal the answers, with explanations, and the sources, with online links, in my April 12th posting.

No prizes will be awarded in any jurisdiction. [Update: 04/12/07: For the answers,
See: PA EE&F Law Blog posting "Survey Says...": The Answers (04/12/07).]

Question #1: What percentage of U.S. adults believe that the federal tax system is somewhat or very complex?

A. 58%
B. 78%
C. 83%
D. 92%
Question #2: Which federal tax is considered to be the least fair?
A. Estate tax
B. Gasoline tax
C. Income tax
D. Payroll tax
Question #3: Which state & local taxes are considered to be the least fair?
A. Gasoline tax
B. Income tax
C. Motor vehicle tax
D. Property tax
Question #4: In 2007, what percentage of people favor repeal of the federal estate tax?
A. 32%
B. 42%
C. 58%
D. 66%
Question #5: What percentage of adult Americans do not have a Will?
A. 45%
B. 55%
C. 65%
D. 75%
Question #6: Which group of American citizens has the lowest percentage of adults who have a Will?
A. African-Americans
B. Companion Animals
C. Hispanic Americans
D. White Americans
[Note: The question above was clarified since the original posting on 04/11/07. See: Update on 04/12/07 at the conclusion of posting in "Survey Says...": The Answers.]
Question #7: What percentage of Americans adults have a "living will" (also known as a medical directive) document?
A. 21%
B. 31%
C. 41%
D. 51%
Question #8: What percentage of Americans adults have a health care power of attorney document?
A. 27%
B. 38%
C. 45%
D. 55%
Question #9: What is the reason most cited by Americans who do not have any elements of an estate plan in place?
A. Cost is High -- They believe it is expensive to hire professional advisors.
B. Ignorance is Bliss -- They don't want to think about being incapacitated or dying.
C. Lack of Need -- They perceive their assets insufficient to justify advance planning.
D. Starting is Difficult -- They don't know who should prepare such plans or documents.
Question #10: What is the biggest source for legal information utilized by consumers regarding estate planning matters?
A. Books & articles
B. Family & friends
C. Internet
D. Lawyers
Question #11: What percentage of U.S. adult Americans have utilized a lawyer at least once in their lives?
A. 46%
B. 51%
C. 65%
D. 68%
Question #12: What percentage of Americans said, in 2005, that they crossed a border to shop in a neighboring area in part because it meant that they would pay less in taxes?
A. 14%
B. 19%
C. 25%
D. 28%
Check in tomorrow to learn what answers the "Survey Says . . . ."

Update: 04/11/07 @ 10:45 am:

Attorney Donald Glassberg, an ACTEC Fellow, sent an email pointing out that my original posting had two questions numbered "4".

So I renumbered all questions for a total of 12. That means that each one is worth, now, 8.333333... points.

I am still trying to decide what academic grading scale to apply to test results. Keep in mind that students of the law are graded much differently than students in other areas of graduate education (according to Wikopedia):
American law schools are notoriously out of step with mainstream graduate-level education. Most of them still require no more than a 2.0 grade point average to qualify for the professional doctorate in law. A few require 2.3 or 2.5 for post-doctoral degrees, such as the American LL.M. or S.J.D. degrees. Law schools also typically continue to award the grade 'D' whereas the industry standard is to eliminate it from the graduate-level quality index.
How about we just make it "Pass-Fail" at a 50% level?

Update: 04/11/07:

This post was noted by Professor Gerry Beyer on the Wills Trusts & Estates Prof Blog on April 11, 2007, in his posting "
What Lay Individuals Really Think About Estate Planning and Related Topics", which then was noted by the The Dreams of a Solo blog in an entry posted that date entitled "The public's view of Estate Planning survey".

Update: 04/12/07:

I posted the answers at 9:15 am on Thursday, April 12th. See: PA EE&F Law Blog posting
"Survey Says...": The Answers (04/12/07).

Hope you passed!