Did you know you can write a Will as soon as you turn 18? While this may not be the first thing on your mind when you become a legal adult, writing a Will only becomes more important the older you get. There are so many reasons to have a Will, and they each have one thing in common: they can provide you with peace of mind.
If you are putting off the task of writing a Will, read the following top 10 reasons why you get started today. While they may not all apply to you right now, at the very least they will highlight why this responsibility should not be avoided any longer. Keep reading to learn more about why you should have a Will:
Top 10 Reasons to Have a Will
A Will is the only way to ensure your end of life wishes are followed and that your loved ones are taken care of after your death. There are several ways a Will can provide you with comfort as you create your end of life plans. Here are the top ten reasons why you should have a Will:
Name guardians for your children
Decide your funeral plans
Manage how your belongings will be distributed
Minimize overall Estate Taxes
Reduce time in Probate Court
Include digital information for family members
Determine where pets will live
Leave money or assets to charity
Establish a healthcare directive
Protect your business or assets
Name Guardians for Children
A Will allows parents to select a guardian for their minor children. While this is often difficult to think through, it is crucial that your preferred guardian is legally named in a Will. Without one, the state court will decide who will care for your children if anything were to happen -- in most cases this responsibility will be given to your closest living relative.
Decide your Funeral Plans
Many individuals avoid thinking about their ideal funeral plans, and rightfully so. However, if you fail to leave any instructions in your Will this responsibility will fall on your spouse or another family member. A Will provides the simplest opportunity to explain what kind of service you want and where you want it to occur. This can alleviate a lot of stress for your loved ones during what will be a challenging time.
Manage How Your Belongings will be Distributed
A Will lets you decide how your belongings will be managed after your death. If you own any real estate, investments, family heirlooms, or even sentimental belongings, a Will lets you choose how they will be distributed to family and friends. Many people don’t stop to think about the specifics of this process, but a Will can make going through your belongings much easier on family members
Minimize Overall Estate Taxes
Depending on how you organize your finances and assets in your Will, you can minimize the amount of taxes owed by your Estate. While this may not seem important to you now, think of it this way: by minimizing estate taxes you can maximize what you are leaving behind to family members, charity, and other loved ones.
Reduce Time in Probate Court
Probate is the court-supervised process all Estates must go through after someone dies. If you have a Will, the court will simply validate the document and allow your Executor to administer the estate. If you die without a Will, the court will step in to determine how assets will be distributed. This process can take months, and often requires family members to make court appearances on your behalf. The only way to avoid these lengthy and often challenging legal proceedings is to create a Will.
Include Digital Information for Family Members
Something a lot of people don’t think about when it comes to writing a Will, is that it provides the opportunity to share important digital information with your spouse or another family member. For example, they may need access to your laptop, email, social media, or other accounts after your death. By writing a Will you can decide how much of this information, if any, you want to share with a relative. This could allow them to close accounts, return work-related equipment, and save pictures or other memories they may want to hold on to.
Determine where Pets will Live
Not only does a Will allow you to nominate guardians for your children -- but it also lets you decide who will be in charge of your pets. You can name a guardian for your pets and leave money for their care to a loved one within your Will.
Leave Money or Assets to Charity
A Will represents the opportunity to leave money or assets to a charitable organization. This practice can help you maximize your contributions to a cause you care about, while also providing some tax benefits. Gifts of up to $13,000 are excluded from Estate taxes; this could help you leave an impactful gift and preserve your legacy.
Establish a Healthcare Directive
Unfortunately, there are situations where you could be unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself. In these cases, it is crucial to have instructions for your loved ones on how to proceed. You can include your wishes for end of life care within a Will. These instructions could take the stress off your family members, and provide you with peace of mind that things will be handled in line with your wishes.
Protect your Business or Assets
If you own a business or any valuable assets, a Will is often necessary to ensure they will be distributed according to your wishes. For example, a Will provides the opportunity to pass ownership of a family business to your children or other next generation of family members. This can prevent future conflict and legal challenges should you die without a Will.
How do you write a Will?
Now that you understand some of the reasons why you should have a Will, you may be wondering how to get started. Luckily, creating a Will is not as complicated as it may sound, and it can actually be completed in a few short steps. The best place to start is by taking stock of all of your assets and belongings, and deciding on your beneficiaries (who you will leave things to). You should also begin thinking about who you want to place in charge of administering your Will, called the Executor.
From there -- you can begin meeting with an Estate Planning lawyer or drafting your Will online. At Trust & Will, we can walk you through every step of the process right from the comfort of your own home. Our legal experts will be able to guide you through various tax strategies and ensure you have the best structure for your finances. Our team will work with you to ensure everything you want included is laid out in the Will. The document can also be changed in the future, should you need to update your Will.
There are so many reasons to have a Will -- yet thousands of Americans die each year without one. This can create both a financial and emotional strain on your family members. The best way to ensure each of your loved ones are taken care of, and each of your wishes are followed, is by creating a Will. This document, though simple, will save your family time and stress in the future. If you do not have a Will, consider the reasons above before you begin this crucial process. If you have any questions we didn’t answer: Reach out to us today or Chat with a live member support representative!
Are you ready to write your Will and ensure your loved ones are taken care of today? Learn how we can help!