More than 64% of GenX Americans and a whopping 78% of Millenials don’t have any estate planning, will or living trust on record.
If you are among those without one and wondering to yourself “Why do I need a will?” then keep reading!
We have 9 reasons why you do need a will no matter what age or circumstance you’re in.
1. It’s Easier for Loved Ones to Know Your Wishes
A dozen people can all grow up in the same environment and come out with a completely different perspective. Even the most well-meaning family members can end up in turmoil and creating tension trying to make decisions they think you wanted.
You may have expressed your wishes clearly in conversations but when dealing with a family crisis like a death all of that can be lost. Having written confirmation of your wishes will stop any guesswork and allow your family to know exactly what you wanted.
There may be possessions that you have saved for specific family members or a legacy you want to leave that could be hard for all your loved ones to get on board with if they don’t have it in your own words.
2. Ensures Your Wishes Are Respected
If you don’t have a will and there are disagreements about things or there are no instructions left for your estate, the choice of what happens could be taken out of your loved ones’ hands altogether.
The government could end up taking over when it comes to major decisions and leave your family helpless when it comes to respecting your wishes and being in control of the necessary arrangements or choices to be made.
A will is a legally binding document and therefore will help ensure the decisions you want are adhered to.
3. Protects Your Children
Writing a will helps to protect your children at every stage of life. Whether you have small children that will need to be cared for if something were to happen to you or adult children who will be responsible for your care if you should become incapacitated or incapable of communicating your wishes.
You don’t want strangers in the government deciding where your children will live and who will raise them if the worst should happen.
You don’t want your loved ones fighting over what should take place if you don’t write a will expressing your wishes.
4. Death and Taxes
The only two things that are guaranteed in life is taxes and death. Unfortunately, death doesn’t stop the taxes. But you can lower the amount the government gets from your estate by declaring in your will what parts of it are to go to charity or be given as gifts.
There will be fewer estate taxes and your family may be able to keep more of what you leave to them if you have a properly written will.
You can designate an executor so that there is no squabbling or resentment between family members wanting to decide where the money goes and how much is donated, gifted, or what estate bills need to be paid.
5. Avoid Lengthy Delays
You don’t want your family to have to wait for years to settle your estate but that can happen if you don’t have a will and proper estate planning in place.
A proper will can stop years of probate delays and red tape for your family after your death. You don’t want the financial and emotional stress of your estate taking years to settle weighing on your family.
Long delays and frustration with an estate can prolong and complicate the grieving process and contribute to depression, anxiety, stress, and other issues. When you start pre-planning your will and other arrangements, you save your family possibly years of delays and despair.
6. Business and Your Legacy
If you own a business then you have even more reason to ensure you have a will that details what should happen within your estate and your business.
You’ll want to leave instructions and contingencies for the business in the event of your incapacitation or death. You don’t want your business to die with you. Having a detailed will can ensure that your legacy and company can continue on.
Employees, families, customers, vendors, and your heirs are all relying on your business for their livelihood so it’s critical they can continue to survive even if you don’t.
7. Will Be Easier and Cheaper Than Not Having One
If the reason you don’t have a will or other pre-planning arrangements made is that you think it’s too expensive, it’s actually a bargain compared to the alternative of waiting until you do pass away.
It is much harder to make informed and wise decisions when under the stress and crisis of a family member dying. Life doesn’t stop for loved ones which means they still have bills and responsibilities while grieving. Not having a will adds to the financial and emotional stresses they already face.
Making arrangements is much easier and more economical when you can take your time and shop around too. If everything is already arranged and specified in your will then your family won’t have to pay out of pocket for services and fees that are marked up because they’re needed immediately.
Not having a will could end up leaving more than one family member with the need to get their own legal representation. Some families end up fighting in court for years only to owe more to lawyers than the estate was even worth. The family is shattered completely and everyone is in debt because there was no will to help resolve the issues.
Do I Need a Will?
The answer to the question “Do I need a will?” is always YES!
It’s important to start pre-planning now, no matter what your circumstances are. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to take steps in being more prepared.
There are on-line legal will kits you can use to ensure your wishes are clearly expressed and known if the worst should happen.
Create a plan, even if it’s just saving your change from the day to put towards your estate planning. A little effort now will give a lot of peace later.
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