‘I don’t really need a will,’ we hear you say, ‘I’m too young to think about that.’
The truth is that no-one is really too young to think about creating a will, though there are some people who are more in need of one than others. Those who are married, who have children, or who have many assets are in most need of a will no matter their age. Think hard about whether you need a will or not.
What Is a Will?
A last will and testament are an official document left behind to direct the distribution of your assets when you die.
While it may seem simple, it’s not actually a matter of just writing down what you want to happen to your CD collection and savings. Wills are complex, legal documents which need to be expertly written, countersigned and verified in order to be binding. So, while it might seem like a lot of expense it really is best to have yours written by a professional.
Of course, you may be thinking that you don’t need one just yet. That may be true, but the truth is that having an up-to-date will is usually the best course of action for most people (with a few exceptions).
What Happens if I Die Without a Will?
This is a question that few people ask themselves, though they should. The answer is that a number of things can happen when you die ‘intestate’ (which is the proper term for dying without official instructions as to the disposal of your worldly goods).
First of all, the law of whatever country or state you live in will decide who gets your property and assets. If you have a spouse or children, they will generally be given priority. This is not always the case, however, and if you have illegitimate children, or siblings they can state their case for receiving some of your estate and assets.
If you have no spouse or children it will generally go to your legal next of kin, but once again this is not guaranteed. If you have no known relatives or next of kin, your estate will be held by the government until such time as an heir can be found, If no heir can be found, or if proof is found that your bloodline (to use an archaic term) has died out, the government will inherit all your goods. The time limit on this varies from place to place, however.
You may feel you are willing to let the laws of intestacy deal with your estate, but consider this; if you have a partner to whom you are not married they may get nothing. Any of your blood relatives, no matter how distant, no matter your relationship with them in life, will have the opportunity to challenge them. And legally, they will have no rights to your assets unless they already part own them. Furthermore, if you’re separated but not yet divorced, your ex will have more right to your assets than many of your family members.
Who is Most Affected?
Well, as previously stated, those who have children really need a will regardless of age or assets. It is also wise to have a will if you are married. However, there are some other people who definitely need to have a will; those with positive net worth.
This means that if you have actual brick and mortar assets such as houses, or serious cash savings (some say 100,000 or more, but in truth, anything over 50,000 is a considerable amount of money for most people) you definitely need a will.
In fact, unless you are young, in perfect health, childless, unmarried, and broke, it’s probably a good idea to get your affairs in order. Even a decent life insurance plan may leave enough funds to make a will worthwhile. Furthermore, if you have any real assets then the cost of a professional will writing service will be more than covered by the peace of mind it will give you, and the ease it will give your family should the worst happen.
Don’t leave your loved ones to clear up your mess, or worse to go without, in the event of your death. Have a will drawn up to ensure that your estate can be disposed of as quickly, fairly, and smoothly as possible to ease their pain and help them move on.