Most people will agree that a last will and testament is an important document, especially for anyone who owns property or has a family. But even so, many people neglect to make a will. Last year 71 percent of American adults under the age of 34 had no last will and testament, and 41 percent of the Baby Boomer generation had no will either, according to USA Today. There are plenty of available excuses for not writing a will, but a few common ones turn up over and over. Here are three of them, and why you should stop listening to them.
I’m Too Young to Need a Will
This excuse gets at the heart of why most people don’t want to think about writing a last will and testament. Creating this important document is a plain reminder that everyone dies someday. Young adults especially don’t want to think about this, believing they have many years ahead of them. Hopefully this is true, and for many people it is. But there are no guarantees anyone will live a long life. Accidents and serious illness can happen at any time. Every adult needs to be prepared with a last will and testament, either drawn up by a lawyer or created by an online source such as LegalZoom.
Lawyers are Too Expensive
Speaking of lawyers, it’s true that having documents drawn up by a lawyer can be expensive. The expenses may not be as bad as you think, however. If you have minimal assets and no family, your last will and testament will probably be a relatively simple document. Also, if you need a less expensive option, you can use LegalZoom or another online legal services provider to make up your own will. Most of these services will guide you through the process step by step, so you don’t have to be a legal expert to create a basic will to serve your needs. If you have a more complicated situation to deal with, such as extensive assets, dependents to provide for, or complicated bequeathments, it may be better to have an attorney write the documents to make sure that everything is handled correctly. Even with the time and expenses involved, you will have better peace of mind knowing that your family and property will be taken care of as you wish.
My Family Will Take Care of My Kids
This is the worst excuse for not making a will, and it is based in a misunderstanding of how the legal system works. When a person dies, their estate enters probate. This is the process in which a court decides how the person’s assets will be divided and their dependents will be cared for. The key thing to realize is that these decisions are all in the court’s hands. If you have an informal agreement with a family member or close friend to take care of your children in the case of your death, the court is in no way obligated to recognize or honor that agreement.
To make sure your children will be taken care of by the right people in the case of your death, you need to make your wishes explicitly clear in a last will and testament. This is still not an absolute guarantee, unfortunately. The court will still make the final decision about guardianship of dependent children, as well as the distribution of assets. But the court will definitely take the instructions in a last will into consideration when making these decisions.
If you don’t have a last will and testament, there’s no time like the present to create one. Either contact a lawyer or use LegalZoom to set up your will to protect your family and your assets no matter what happens in the future.