Preparing for the end of your life is always a little uncomfortable. Death is a part of life, but it still feels awkward to discuss with loved ones – after all, most people don’t necessarily plan to die. That awkwardness might be why most Americans – between one-half and two-thirds of American adults, to be specific – don’t have a will. But estate planning documents like wills can outline important legal decisions like distribution of property, your family’s livelihood, and even the care of minor children. Let’s explore why you need a will.
Why You Need a Will
What Is a Will?
First, you should understand what a will entails. According to Investopedia, a will is “a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children.” When you pass away, your will helps make your posthumous wishes crystal clear. But if you pass away before establishing a will, your family will likely spend a lot of time and money settling your affairs.
Do I Need a Will?
If you don’t already have a will, you might be wondering if you really need one. After all, wills are only for people passing along large inheritances – right? Well, that’s not exactly true. Regardless of how much money you have – and whether or not you’re even passing along an inheritance – a will is your best way to ensure your wishes are heard after you pass away. A will can include everything from care of family pets to cancelling credit cards to legal transition of any business assets. If you care for young children or grandchildren, your will could also ensure their security until they become legal adults.
What Kind of Will Do I Need?
If you’re not sure where to start, you’ll likely want to explore what’s known as a testamentary will. This is the most familiar type of will that you will complete and sign in front of witnesses. For best results, you should work with a reputable attorney who has experience in estate planning. A professional will be able to help you find the best will for your needs.
Other Important Estate Planning Considerations
Once you’ve established your will, there are several other estate planning tools you might explore. For example, a living will can outline your wishes pertaining to medical treatments you may need in future years. You can also establish power of attorney (POA) through a legal document, giving one person the power to act in your stead. A person with POA will be able to make legal decisions about your principal’s property, finances, and medical care, so it should be someone you trust deeply.
Do you still have questions about why you need a will? The truth is that few of us plan for our passing – but passing away without a will can create a long, drawn-out, and confusing process for your loved ones. A will can ensure your final wishes are met and help your family recover from your loss in peace.
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