5 Reasons Why You NEED A Will
How many of you don’t currently have a will? I would imagine quite a few of you.
You’ve probably never thought about it. That’s understandable. Most of us don’t like to think of our own death.
But the fact is….everybody is going to die at some point. And when your time comes you will likely leave behind surviving family. Why not make that a bit easier on them?
Dying without a will or without any form of an estate plan can place tremendous stress on your loved ones. Trust me, I see it happen all the time.
Fortunately, for those of you reading this post, you can prevent that from happening (or, at least, lessen the likelihood). All you have to do is create a will.
Still not convinced?
Here are 5 sound reasons why you need a will:
1. A WILL ENSURES YOUR “STUFF” ENDS UP WHERE YOU WANT IT
If you had to give away all of your things, wouldn’t you want to dictate where it all ends up? Sure you would.
We don’t want other people deciding where our things go. We like the idea of having control over our own property.
But when we die our things have to go somewhere. And if you don’t start planning now, when that day comes, the “somewhere” will be decided for you. And you may not like it.
Creating a will ensures that your property ends up exactly where you want it. You get to decide who or what ends up with your things.
2. A WILL LESSENS THE LIKELIHOOD OF FAMILY FUEDS
Take a moment and think about how many family members you have. Cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, etc. Now imagine all of them claiming ownership of something you own. That’s an argument you probably don’t want any part of.
Dying without a will opens the door (potentially) to that type of family drama. It usually sounds like this, “I was a lot closer to him than you were, so I should get the farm land….” Or, “you only visited her while she was sick, you don’t deserve anything…”
It can get ugly.
Making a will takes all the uncertainty out of the equation. Because you’re deciding where your things go, the “beef” will be with your decision. Your family can focus on mourning and healing rather than fighting and arguing.
3. A WILL ONLY BECOMES EFFECTIVE UPON YOUR DEATH
If you have a will and are still alive, it’s really nothing more than a piece of paper. That’s because a will doesn’t become effective until the moment of your death.
This means that you are free to replace it, amend it, or completely destroy it.
I’ve had a lot of clients that hesitated on making a will simply because they couldn’t decide where everything should go.
But that’s the beauty of wills. Nothing is “written in stone” until your death. So, if your no-good son-in-law decides to divorce your daughter, all you have to do is remove him from your existing will (usually via a codicil).
4. A WILL CAN DRASTICALLY EASE THE STRESS OF PROBATE
Many of my clients often blame the “stress of probate” as a reason why they don’t have a will. And I get that.
Let me first say that probate really isn’t that bad…..if you have a will. The attorney does most of the work. In fact, if you’ve effectively planned and prepared for your estate at death, your loved ones may not even have to see the inside of a court room.
But, if you die without a will, you can almost guarantee a stress-filled couple of months are in store for your loved ones. Especially if there’s a lot of fighting and arguing going on. There could potentially be several court dates in their future.
Creating a will can prevent that from happening.
5. A WILL IS CHEAP AND EASY TO CREATE
Most (ethical) attorneys will typically charge anywhere from $50 to $150 for a formal will.
All it takes is a few minutes of your time, a good handle on what you own, and an idea of where you want it to go and you’re all set.
You can even create your own will….by yourself. It’s called a holographic will and in most states it’s perfectly valid. Although you need to be careful when making your own will (especially if you have a rather wealthy or complex estate).
If you don’t want to sit down in an attorney’s office, you can go online. There are tons of forms on the internet to guide you through the will making process. You can click here to see my favorite.
Please don’t end up like some of the folks that sit down in my office. Take the time today and start planning for your estate.
Trust me…It’s the SMART thing to do.
Good Legal Health.
The Juris Doctor