Tuesday, January 24, 2012

10 Reasons You Really Need a Will

Almost half of the adults in the United States, including adults with children, do not have a will. One reason for this may simply be that creating a will can be a scary experience. By doing so, you are taking time to seriously contemplate the end of your existence on the planet. And the number and complexity of the issues you'll need to clearly address in the will, mostly for the sake of your loved ones, can be overwhelming. So why not leave the task of distributing your assets to your family and friends once you're gone? They won't mind and can be trusted, right? Well, take a deep breath, and consider the following 10 reasons why you really need a will.

  1. Everybody dies

    Reason No. 1 why you need a will: Everybody dies. That might sound obvious, but in our culture, in spite of plenty of violence and death on television and in films, people don't like to talk or think about death. Before preparing a will or a revocable living trust, you may want to take some time to discuss the reality of your own passing in a healthy, supportive environment. Discuss the subject with friends, your partner, maybe even your children, and see if doing so is helpful and empowering.

  2. Because you care about the people you love

    Creating a will is a helpful step toward ensuring that your loved ones, including your friends, life-partner, and/or children, understand your wishes after you've gone. Finance expert and author Suze Orman calls this "being responsible to those you love." Leaving behind no legal documentation regarding your assets will create a burden on the very people you care the most about.

  3. Without a will, the state automatically decides what becomes of your assets

    If you do not have a will or a revocable living trust, after you die, the state will automatically assume the role of deciding what is to be done with all of your stuff. Your loved ones will have no say in the matter. And with no instructions from you to refer to, any complicated and divisive issues regarding your assets will only become more aggravating and, if hiring legal help is necessary, quite costly.

  4. If both parents die, a court will determine guardianship of children under 18.

    In a will, you can and should recommend who should raise your children in the event of you and your spouse passing. The court ultimately makes the decision, but it bases that decision upon what is in your will. Without a will, the court will choose a guardian that might be very different from the one you’d have selected.

  5. Covering your assets!

    A specific type of will called a pour over will allows you to name a guardian for your children and to cover any assets that are not already covered, either intentionally or inadvertently, in a living trust. It's possible that you could neglect to include items of sentimental value in your trust. Or, you may purposely keep some assets out of a trust to avoid certain taxes or complications with insurance companies.

  1. Because you don't want to do it on your deathbed

    A deathbed will is a will created when a person is facing their imminent death, usually a highly emotional and traumatic moment. Hasty preparation and the emotional state of the testator (i.e. the person who made the will) leave a deathbed will open to being easily challenged by any disappointed beneficiary. While a deathbed will can be valid and binding, a will prepared in advance when you are healthy and thinking clearly is likely to be a much more binding document.

  2. Women live longer than men

    Which means women, be they single or married, may one day find themselves seriously ill with no one to pay their bills, write checks, or take care of their belongings. With this in mind, single and married women should consider creating, in addition to a will, a revocable living trust, which allows you to name a trustee who can carry out your wishes if you are incapacitated due to illness.

  3. You'll save yourself and your loved ones time and money

    After a person dies, their will has to go through the court system for a judge to authenticate it. Probate costs are inevitable and can be quite high, especially if you don't have your assets held in a trust. But the process of creating a will with the assistance of a lawyer, where you are taking time to consider the distribution of all of your assets, will help you determine if any probate fees can be avoided, saving you money in the meantime.

  4. The only constant is change

    Which means not only is it wise to create a will, it’s a good idea to revisit the will annually so that it addresses any major changes in your life. Maybe you lose a job and decide to begin what becomes a successful business. Maybe you divorce and remarry someone who has children of their own. Maybe you want to be sure that no-good son of yours, who you had hoped would get his act together after flunking out of three law schools, doesn't get his hands on a penny of your assets! (Actually, that's when you need a living trust in addition to the will, which he will likely contest.) A will can and should be revised regularly to address life changes, be they dramatic or small.

  5. Because it's easier than ever to create a will

    Thanks to the Internet, we now have access to a vast amount of helpful and accurate information regarding wills, trusts, and durable power of attorney. Finding a lawyer to ultimately draw up and finalize any of these documents is absolutely crucial. But doing your research before you meet with a lawyer will save you time and money. You may even feel a sense of empowerment in the face of one of life's inevitabilities.

Taken From Insurance Quotes

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