Make a difference even after you’re gone. Plan your estate for those you love and leave a legacy, not a mess. August is National Make-A-Will Month, so this is the perfect time to create or update your will.
Sadly, there are far too many people, of all ages and from all walks of life, who haven’t made an estate plan yet. Some think youth will protect them from the need for a will. Others think estate plans are only for the rich and famous. Many just don’t think about it at all.
But the truth is, estate planning is critical for all of us — for our families and loved ones, for the charities we support, and for our own peace of mind.
Don’t have an estate plan? Read on to see what could go wrong.
The state could get your assets
Without a will, the court will decide how to disburse your assets. Of course, the court doesn’t know (or care) about your wishes for family and loved ones, or that you want to remember a few of your favorite charities in your will. And in some places, if you don’t have any living relatives, your entire estate could go to the state.
The court will appoint an executor
Without a will, the court will select someone to handle your estate during probate. You may have selected a family member or close friend to handle this responsibly, but the court won’t know (or care) about that.
The court will rehome your children
Without a will, the court will choose a guardian for your minor children. (Surely they’ll make a responsible, informed decision … right?)
The state will get extra tax dollars
Without a will, the estate tax dollars that the government collects will be used for, well … anything the government chooses. (Hint: they’re probably not helping out your favorite charities.)
One last thing
Without a will, your grieving loved ones will face the responsibility and expense of untangling your unnecessarily complicated affairs while also speculating about your gift intentions—because, without a will, they’ll have to guess. And believe me, this happens quite often and can create a painful mess.
Clearly, there are important reasons to write a will. Sure, it takes a little work, but it’s a lot easier than most people realize.
People often get nervous about meeting with an attorney. Many worry about the expense. But an attorney specializing in wills and estate planning is exactly the right person to help you accomplish your goals and protect your family. And the peace of mind you’ll experience from a thoughtfully prepared will is well worth the effort.
Writing a will is far too important a task to delay—for you, for your loved ones, and for your favorite charities. Yet over 60 percent of Americans die without one.
Please don’t be one of them. Begin organizing your thoughts by using our free Will Planning Wizard, and then see your favorite Moravian attorney. It’s easier than you think.
This blog is not intended as legal advice.