No one expects to die early in their life, and that’s a major reason why many adults who should know better than to put off preparing a will. But age or health is no guarantee, and it’s best to have a will in place.
According to a survey, as many as 60% of Americans report not having a will. There are many more reasons to have one, and an article from Nasdaq.com, “Should You Have a Will?” explains why.
Death. You might die sooner than you think. The US has the highest mortality rate (according to one survey) by far for those aged 10 to 24 (think traffic accidents). The National Center for Health Statistics noted that there were about 2.5 million total deaths in 2011, and more than 90,000 of those people died between the ages of 20 and 39.
You’ve got the power. A will distributes your assets according to your wishes. If you don’t have a will, the state will divide your assets based on its statutes. Therefore, if you want everything to go to your spouse or a good friend, you need to draft a will.
Guardianship. A will can designate who will take care of your children. You can specify who you want as their guardian, so that they’ll be with someone you trust.
Executor. A will can name your executor in order to avoid family squabbles. You name who you want administering your affairs after you die, instead of letting the court do it.
Charities. Through your will, you can give to your favorite causes and organizations. Without a will, there may be no record of your intention to help a charity.
Taxes. Without a will, your estate may be subject to high estate taxes. Just look at the huge chunk of the rock star Prince’s estate that was needed to pay estate taxes because he did not have even a simple one-page will.
Easier on your loved ones. If you die without a will, it can mean added headaches, stress, delay, and expense. With no will to designate beneficiaries, some of your estate may go to those relatives you’d never have chosen.
In addition to having a will prepared, work with an experienced estate planning attorney to draft other important documents, including a living will and durable power of attorney. With a living will and a durable power of attorney in place, those you love will be able to make critical healthcare and financial decisions, if you are not able to. Remember the goal of an estate plan: to protect you and those you love.
Reference: Nasdaq.com (November 20, 2016) “Should You Have a Will?”