Most people don’t like to think about death much. That may be part of the reason so few Americans have a will. According to a 2017 AARP survey, only 4 in 10 of U.S. adults have a will or living will. That means most adults don’t have the documents they need to show how they want their assets distributed or what end-of-life care they want.
Some may think creating a will is something only wealthy people do. However, everyone can benefit from having a will. By creating a will, you can
- Document who will receive your assets and how you want your assets divided. Otherwise, state statues may dictate who receives your assets, which may not align with what you wanted.
- Name a guardian to care for your underage children or adult children with special needs and provide for them with specific assets. Without a will, the state would make the decision as to who your child’s guardian would be.
- Name an executor or personal representative for your estate. Your can choose someone you trust to manage the probate process for your estate and distribute your assets as you’ve instructed.
- You can reduce family conflict and stress about settling your estate.
- You can plan for personal matters surrounding your death, including what type of funeral services you’d like.
It’s always best to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create your will and other estate planning documents. An estate planning attorney can guide you to ensure you have accounted for all your assets in your will and created a health care directive (also known as a living will) and power of attorney document.
Ultimately, having a will and comprehensive estate plan in place gives you peace of mind about the future. You can know you’ve done what you can to take care of your children and beneficiaries. You can let them know what your wishes are, so they know they have honored them well.