Many people are not sure if they need a will because they don’t think they actually have an estate or they simply procrastinate in getting the document drafted. If you are wondering whether you have an estate or not, you most likely do. Simply put, if you own anything you have an estate. So, if you have any assets held outside qualified accounts (i.e. savings accounts, a house, cars, etc.) or have people you care about and/or rely on you (i.e. children, a spouse, etc.), you should have a will. The problem is most adults in America do not have a will. In fact, 58% of American adults don’t have one! So, here’s what you need to do to avoid being part of the 58%.
58% of adults in America do not have a will!
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that defines who is going to take care of your children and outlines what to do with your assets when you’re gone. If you die without a will the state will decide who will inherit your assets. Having a will allows you, not the government, to control your assets after your death.
What is Involved in Creating a Will?
To do it right, I suggest working with a lawyer to make sure your will is structured properly so that it is valid and enforceable.
Here is a checklist of things to address:
• Name A Guardian: If your children are minors make sure you name a guardian for your kids.
• List of Assets Make a list of all your assets and where they are.
• Determine Values: Determine the values of your real estate, insurance policies, investments, business ownership, personal possessions and anything else that has economic or sentimental value to you or your family.
• Who Will Get Your Stuff?: Decide who will receive these assets and when (Typically your surviving spouse will be your primary beneficiary).
• Provide Instructions: Provide instructions on how and when to distribute assets to your children, grandchildren, and the Charities of your choice.
• Executor or trustee: Name an executor or trustee to oversee and carry out your instructions.
• Power of Attorney/Medical Directive: Grant the power of attorney to someone you trust to make health care and financial decisions if you are not able to make these decisions yourself.
• Update Regularly: Update your will every three years to make sure it fits your present situation and conforms to current state laws. This way you know your family, your loved ones, and your assets are all protected.
TIP: Update your will every 3 years to make sure it fits your present situation and conforms to current state laws.
When you have people who you care about and who count on you it’s best to prepare for the unexpected. So, if you don’t have a will in place now is the time to get going. If you do have a will but haven’t reviewed it in some time you may need to make updates.
Getting all your stuff in order is one of the first steps you’ll need to take in order to prepare your will. The video below shows the online system we use to help our clients get organized. It helps gather the information you need to give your attorney so they can create your will. As a thank you for reading this post, I am offering free access to this great system to help you get started. Simply send me your email request at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you up and running quickly.
For more financial planning tips, download my free report: “8 Steps to Organize and Optimize Your Financial Life”. Thanks for reading!