Wills. We don’t think about them until someone passes and or it’s time to allocate items and money to family members. It’s a dreaded topic of conversation and can overwhelm someone to think about what will happen when they pass, however, it is extremely important to begin planning as soon as you can. In this blog by Legal Shield, they cover the importance of having a will.
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that provides who is to receive your property after your death, who will administer your estate, who will serve as guardians to your children, and many other provisions. It is essential to have a Will for the sake of your family, your estate, and your own peace of mind.
Without a Will, you leave your loved ones and precious possessions in the hands of the courts to disperse as they see fit. The longer this probate process drags on, the more fees and taxes your loved ones will end up paying. Probate can consume your loved ones’ time for up to 2 years and eat up 3%-7% of the value of your estate.
Legal Shield conducted some research on this topic with Americans. Their research found:
-46% of our survey participants admitted that they didn’t even know where to begin.
-72% were worried about the expensive price tag and were avoiding paying the price of Will preparation.
You Can Start Young...
Did you know that you can write a will start at 18 years old? Meaning that it’s not something you should wait until retirement to begin! It’s important that you consistently update it and create lines that apply to your current life! Obviously, a will of a 20-year-old and a 60-year-old may be different, considering extended family, possible grandkids and cousins, or even your own children.
This a gentle reminder that a will cannot be forced to be written by other people. The understanding, writing, and decisions made by the individual must be voluntary. You can gather professional advice from legal experts, attorneys, and more. Consider taking a look at will questionnaires to help guide you through what should and shouldn’t be applied to your personal will.
Updating your will...
- Has your marital status changed?
- Have you made a major purchase, such as a house or a car?
- Have you recently added children to the family through birth or adoption?
- Do you need to establish guardians for your children?
- Have you experienced a shift in relationships, meaning your intended heirs have changed?
- Has your family experienced the loss of a loved one?
- Do you need to establish powers of attorney? Specifically, financial power of attorney is a common need in the estate planning process.
- Are you concerned about what will happen to your bank account after your passing?
- Did you move to a new state or make plans to temporarily live abroad?
- Did your state laws change regarding taxes? If so, you may want to take advantage of any state-specific adjustments that will minimize the taxes owed on your estate after your passing.
- Do you have life insurance?
- Did you recently get a pet? Your Will can provide stipulations for the care of your pet after your death.
- Do you own a business and want to ensure that it goes into the right hands?
- Do you want to put a living trust in place?
- Do you want to give part of your estate to charity? Lay this out in your Will.
Writing wills are not the most interesting thing to do (and certainly not exciting), however, it’s important for your future planning to avoid headaches! Make sure that you take care of yourself and your family!
The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist, and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter.