Are you one of the 70% of Americans don’t have a will? Do you have a reason?
Over the years I’ve spoken to literally hundreds of people and asked them if they have a will. And from my experience, I would say that the 70% mentioned above is probably conservative. Although the following questions are simple, each of us consider them.
- Why do you need a will?
- If you own property, do you care who gets it when you die?
- If you have built an estate that has some value, do you care who will get your money when you die?
- If you have children, do you want to specify who would be appointed as guardian when you die?
- I’m healthy, so I have plenty of time to take care of it later. Do you?
- Have you ever had a friend killed in an auto accident, whether he or she was at fault or not?
- Do you know of a friend or relative that was given a frightening medical diagnosis? One that they might not survive?
- Have you been married more than once?
- Would you like your ex-spouse to have a legal claim on your property?
- Would you like to provide (or not provide) for children of a previous marriage?
- Are you willing to take action to make sure that you will leave a legacy that you can be proud of and that your family and friends will admire after you’re gone?
If you die without a will, attorneys say you have died intestate and the intestacy laws of the state where you reside will determine how your property is distributed. This includes bank accounts, securities, real estate, and all other assets you own at the time or y our death.
My personal opinion is that although all of these may be important and logical reasons to have a will, the real reasons are not logical, they’re emotional and monetary.
Probably the most important emotional reason is that although everyone dies, no one really wants to believe that they will actually die! This is not surprising because no one can really imagine what the world will be like if they aren’t in it!
So, what’s the answer to that? The answer isn’t important. The important thing is to take care of your loved ones in the event you don’t live forever.
The second reason is because it actually takes time and a great deal of thought to accumulate all of the information that is needed in a will.
And the third reason is probably monetary. Everyone knows that they should have an attorney create their will, but attorneys are expensive. And how many of us has several hundred extra dollars to spend on something we don’t want to talk about?
In my next blog post, I’ll tell you about the least expensive way to get a legal document of any sort, including a will, completed.