Here is something we need to think about:
Everyone needs, at least, a Last Will and Testament.
Old or young, rich or poor, sick or healthy—everyone needs one.
It doesn't have to be complicated, and it can save our loved ones from going through a significant amount of grief if something ever happens to us.
There are around five essential documents in your estate plan, and I like to think of your Will (or your Trust) as the foundation of your estate plan. It’s the most basic level of protection that you can put in place, and here are three major reasons why.
(1) Everyone needs a Will, no matter how old you are.
Unfortunately, we never know when tragedy might strike, some of the most complex probate cases involve a younger person passing away. When we are young we often have a lot of irons in the fire. Generally, we are less likely to have consolidated our assets; more likely to have higher liabilities (such as a mortgage, student loan debt, or line of credit); and, more likely to die leaving minor children. These are all crucial aspects of your life that a Will and Testament helps plan for.
(2) Everyone needs a Will, no matter how much money you have.
A lot of us aren’t millionaires or even close, but we often don’t realize just how much we do have. The truth is, you will leave stuff behind. You might own property, a bank account, or you might leave your loan payments and rent behind. Money is also the least meaningful thing you will leave behind. Your favorite t-shirt, your couch, your TV, and your dog are all important assets that those close to you will want to be divided fairly. You may even leave behind a large lawsuit due to how you passed away. A Will and Testament is not just about handling what you own, it’s also about handling what you may owe, or be owed if you pass away. Without a Will, we give up our ability to control who gets the assets we leave behind. A good Last Will and Testament outlines your beneficiaries and the representative of your estate, commonly called your executor.
(3) Everyone needs a Will, no matter how healthy you are.
Death can be a scary topic. It can be especially overwhelming if it’s something you haven’t experienced with close loved ones. Those of us who have lost someone dear to our hearts, know the most loving thing they did to help us when we were grieving was having their estate plan already in place. As uncomfortable as it is to take a few hours and talk about this topic, think of the discomfort you’ll be saving your family from by doing the work now so they don’t have to while they are missing you.
One of the best ways you can love your family is to go meet with your attorney about your Will and what estate planning needs to be done on your behalf.
Thinking ahead not only gives us peace of mind about the future, but it also can take a huge burden off of our loved ones if something ever happens to us because they won't have to navigate the challenges of the probate court system without our Will already in place.