It’s a common misconception that wills only need to be written at an old age. Most adults are not thinking about how their property and assets should be divided after they pass on, but the cold reality is that unexpected deaths can happen.
The number one reason that adults avoid or procrastinate on writing a will is due to the uncomfortable nature of the topic. However, it’s important for adults of any age to decide how they want their property to be used when they pass on, despite the discomfort of planning for the possibility of early death.
What’s in a will?
Wills describe how a person would like their estate to be handled and distributed when they pass on. Some of the components of what a will decides are:
• Who property is given to
• Who becomes the guardian of minor children
• Charity gifts
• Representative to act on behalf of your wishes
Why is it so important to have one?
If someone passes away without a will, the process of dividing their assets is incredibly complicated and can take a very long time, sometimes more than a year. This can be an emotionally and mentally draining experience for all family involved. While the discomfort of planning for death keeps many people from writing a will, the consequences for their family if they do not write one is often the main factor that urges them to write it.
If there is no will when someone passes on, court is in charge of sorting through and distributing estate. If you hadn’t stated your wishes for it, this makes it highly likely that your property will not be used as you would like. Generally, without a will, all your property is distributed to your spouse, children, and grandchildren, or various relatives if you have no spouse or children. If no family can be found at all, your estate is given fully to the government.
By writing a will, you can explain exactly who should receive your property, including friends that the court would otherwise not recognize as potential recipients of your property. You can also exclude people from your inheritance that may otherwise be included.
What if my wishes change over time?
A will can be changed or revised at any point. In fact, anyone who has a will should think about revision at some point as they acquire new assets. Writing one now does not set your decisions in stone. It simply provides security that your estate will be used as you wish. A will gives you full control over how your property will be used so that others won’t have to make decisions about your estate for you.