Do you have a will?

DO HAVE OR NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL?

A Will - Don’t Leave Without It

Six out of 10 people don’t have a will. If you’re reading this, you probably don’t have one either—and you’re probably wondering if that’s the best category to be in.

Spoiler alert: It isn’t.

The reality is, 100% of people have a terminal condition. We know that’s not a cheerful way to start off, but it’s true. One hundred percent of people are going to die.  I trust that this only happens after a long, fulfilling life surrounded by people they love and care for.

That is why a will really matters—because of the people we love.

We’re going to break down exactly what a will can do to protect you, your family, and your stuff, so you’ll never have to wonder, “Why do I need a will?” again.

The big question is, “Why Don’t I Have a Will?”

Let’s examine why most people don’t have wills. That may seem a little backwards, but if 100% of people need wills and less than 40% of people have them, that means there are some big roadblocks holding most people back.

 

A survey of over 2,000 people found that 63% of them don’t have a will. When we asked them why not, they gave us three main reasons:

  1. Don’t have time to make one (48%)

  2. Don’t need one in this stage of life (20%)

  3. Can’t afford one (17%)

Add in the fact that making a will is very emotional, and it’s easy to see why a lot of people skip it entirely. (We’d be willing to bet you saw at least one of your own excuses on that list.)

If you own, or will own, property outright, it is recommended that you have a Will. A properly executed Will allows you to choose those individuals or organizations who will receive your property at death.

It is also a statement of your desires as to who will be the guardian of your minor children and who will be responsible for distributing your assets (i.e., the executor of the Will).

In short, a Will allows you to:

  1. Speak when you're no longer able to speak

  2. Provide for the welfare of family and/or friends

  3. Provide for the welfare of your pets

  4. Pass along your assets as intended

  5. Arrange for the efficient management of your property

But, if you die without a Will (i.e., intestate), the state takes your place and directs the disposition of your assets. The state intestacy laws set out highly standardized and rigid rules that control who will succeed to ownership of your property at death. Although these succession statutes attempt to be fair and equitable, they more than likely will not provide for the distribution you prefer. For example, absent a Will:

 

If you have minor children, your spouse may need to go to court to be appointed guardian of the children's property. This may also require posting bond, annual accountings, and judicial proceedings to act on behalf of the minor.

A simultaneous death of husband and wife could entrust the state with the care and support of minor children.

You pet could be taken to the animal adoption agency.

Generally, except for what statutorily passes to your surviving spouse, your children share equally in your estate. The impersonal nature of state intestacy laws deprives you of the opportunity to provide a greater share, for example, to a disabled daughter than to her healthy brother.

State law may divide your property between your surviving spouse and children contrary to your wishes.

An individual may not leave property to charity.

If there are no heirs, property may pass to the state rather than to friends and relatives.

Intestate Distribution

Intestate is not the way you want to leave things for your family, friends, pets, and charities that you support.

So to review, here are the top nine reasons why you should make a will today.

1. Determine who will manage your estate.

As mentioned above, deciding who will handle your estate is a great reason to have a will. When you write a will, you become a “testator” and have the opportunity to nominate an “executor.” This is the person who will oversee wrapping up all your affairs.

Being an executor is an important job. Their responsibilities may include everything from closing bank accounts to liquidating assets. So, you should choose someone who is capable and who you trust to carry out these activities. If you don’t choose an executor in your will, the court will pick one for you — and it may not be the person you’d want. 

 2. Decide who gets your assets and property — and who does not.

Most people know that a will lets them decide who will get their property. As the testator, you can name people as beneficiaries for specific assets. You can also name beneficiaries for any property that you don’t list — the “residuary” of your estate. When your executor handles your will, they’ll oversee distributing these assets.

You might not be aware that you can also use a will to help ensure that some people don’t receive anything. For example, you might want to prevent an ex-spouse from receiving an inheritance. Or, if one child received your support through school, you might want to make sure a second child gets their fair share, too.

3. Decide who gets your assets and property — and who does not.

Most people know that a will lets them decide who will get their property. As the testator, you can name people as beneficiaries for specific assets. You can also name beneficiaries for any property that you don’t list — the “residuary” of your estate. When your executor handles your will, they’ll oversee distributing these assets.

You might not be aware that you can also use a will to help ensure that some people don’t receive anything. For example, you might want to prevent an ex-spouse from receiving an inheritance. Or, if one child received your support through school, you might want to make sure a second child gets their fair share, too.

4. Provide a home for your pets.

Owning a pet is a great reason to have a will. With a will, you can make sure that someone takes care of your pet after you die. The law considers pets to be property, so you can’t leave any assets to your pet with your will. But you can name a beneficiary for your pet, leaving them to a trusted friend or family member. You can ask that person to act as a caretaker or guardian for your pet, and even leave them funds to provide for your pet’s care.

 5. Leave instructions for your digital assets.

Your digital assets may include online accounts, such as Facebook or email, and digital files or property (photos, videos, domain names, etc.). In your will, you can name a digital executor to manage these assets after you pass. You can leave them to specific people, and include information on how you want them handled (e.g., if you’d like an account closed).

6. Lower the potential for family disputes.

If you have complicated family dynamics, there’s a good reason to have a will. When you die without a will, your family will have to guess at what your final wishes were. And chances are, they won’t always agree. This ambiguity can create friction, and even fights, which sometimes lasts a lifetime. Creating a will solves the problem by eliminating the guesswork.

7. Support your favorite causes and leave a legacy.

Many people want to leave a positive impact on the world after they pass. And a great way to do this is to support the charities or causes you love most. When you write a will, you can preserve your legacy by leaving a part of your estate to a charitable organization.

 

8. Provide funeral instructions.

You may not want to think about your own funeral. But if you do think about it now, and leave instructions with your will, you can lessen the burden on your loved ones after you pass. While these instructions aren’t legally binding, they can give your executors and loved ones some guidance on your wishes.

When you include instructions, you can name a funeral executor to manage the process, give suggestions for the service and location, make requests for your final resting place, and more.

 

9. It’s easy to make a will and gain peace of mind.

Some folks put off creating or updating their will because they assume their loved ones will automatically get an inheritance. But this isn’t always true. Probate can be a long and expensive process for your heirs. Plus, a will only addresses your current circumstances. You should update it over time as your needs and the people in your life change.

When you create or update your will, you can look after your loved ones and give them an easy map to follow after you pass. This gives many people peace of mind, making it one of the most important reasons to have a will.

And it’s easier than ever to make a will. With Legal Shield you have an attorney that can assist you with the expert details needed. 

 

What about a Living Will and a financial Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney?  Who will make decisions for you if you are a live but cannot make your own decisions?  Now is the time to make those decisions.

 

As a Legal Shield member, your attorney will handle all of these items for you. 

Starting at $29.95.

Find more details at www.FamilyLegalProtection.com