Why don’t you have a Will? 

Or, more specifically, Why don’t you have an up-to-date, lawyer-written Will?  

Some of the top reasons for not having a Will are: 

(1)                I’m too young,

(2)                I don’t have enough money to worry about it,               

(3)                Dying is depressing, and I’m not thinking about it yet, 

(4)                I just don’t have the time right now, 

(5)                Lawyers cost too much, and 

(6)                I’ll do it myself. 

 But … no. Just no. 

Let’s explore each in a bit more detail: 

(1)   Unless you are under 18 (and therefore legally unable to make a Will), there is no such thing as being “too young” for a Will. 

Unfortunately, we don’t get to predict exactly when we are going to die. When we do have the luxury of time, many things can be done during our lifetimes to ensure our wishes are achieved. It is when a death is unexpected, we are forced to rely on the terms of a Will to know what our loved one wanted us to do with their assets. 

A well-drafted Will can reduce confusion and drama, making things simpler for your family after your death. Wills should not be left to the old and the rich.   Wills can be even more important for people with growing assets that need them unexpectedly. We have had clients ranging in age from their late teens to late 90’s, but the majority of our clients are between 30 and 60. Ideally, preparing a Will should be part of responsible financial planning for all adults. 

 

 

 

(2)   No matter how much you have, you can benefit from having a Will. 

You need to have a Will in place if you own any real estate individually, but that is not the only thing that should prompt you to make a Will. If you own any personal property (ie: a car or bank accounts), having a Will is recommended. Having a Will means that a person (selected by you) is given authority upon your death. They will need to apply for court approval (i.e., probate). Wills ensure your wishes and choices are protected and followed, but they also make the process smoother. 

If you have young children, the value or existence of assets is not really relevant. A Will is important for people with minor children to allow them to choose who will raise their children (a guardian) and to dictate how and when their assets should be passed to their children. Without a Will, assets going to a child under 18 would be managed by a financial guardian chosen by the court, and paid out in full upon the child reaching 18 years of age. 

   

(3)   Thinking and talking about death is not fun, but thinking things through now makes things less stressful for your loved ones later. 

Look, even if we don’t plan for it, death is out there.  It may be next week, next year, or decades away, but it is out there.  By discussing it now, when it is not on the horizon, it can be less overwhelming when all the questions are hypothetical. Things can always be adjusted in the future. Wills should be drafted so that they achieve your goals, both if needed tomorrow and in thirty years .  However, Wills should be reviewed at least every few years and adjusted as required. 

Next time we will review 4-6 

 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general purposes only and must not be considered legal advice. For specific legal advice, please consult an attorney directly. 

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