Top 3 Reasons to Have a Will (Even If You’re Not Old Yet)
By: Lauren Paglia
They say that only one thing in life is certain: death. For many of us, end-of-life planning is something that we don’t think about until we start playing BINGO and eating dinner at 3:30PM; but we should. According to the Washington post, life expectancy in the US is down for the first time in over 20 years. Nobody plans on being in a traffic collision or falling ill suddenly, but tragedy strikes. Below are the top 3 reasons why you should quit waiting for a reason and make a Will.
- You know you better than lawmakers do. Without a Will or other estate planning document, statutory defaults decide what happens to your stuff when you pass away. Granted, they were designed to pass your belongings the way that they think most people would agree with (to a spouse and children, etc), but you may not agree with the default beneficiaries or proportions. Not everyone has a spouse and children; if you do, there are laws that would make it difficult or impossible for a person to inherit based on your marital status or the legal status of the child. A Will or other testamentary instrument lets you override the statutory defaults and make sure that your stuff goes to the people or causes that you designate. The State tries its best to look after you, but only you know what’s best for you.
- Your family is crazy enough– don’t make them crazier. When a person passes away without a will and the statutory defaults kick in, some family members are left out. If your estate is particularly large or if you leave an item of value that several loved ones know about and want for themselves, it inevitably leads to bickering within the family and escalades quickly. Talk to your local Clerk of Court and s/he will tell you that intestacy (dying without a Will) has made bitter rivals out of the most loving families. Having a plan for your assets in place ahead of time will prevent unnecessary strain on the loved ones you leave behind.
- Statues don’t care about your heirlooms. Statutory defaults are designed to divide percentages of your estate to family members selected by that statute. Family heirlooms and other items of sentimental value are not afforded special attention because frankly the state doesn’t have the time or resources to be that meticulous. If you have a Will, you can include specific bequests and charge your Executor with making sure that items of special personal significance go to the intended recipient.
It may not be the most pleasant topic of discussion, but nobody lives forever and the world will keep on spinning with you or without you. A Will or testamentary instrument can give you peace of mind and the knowledge that your legacy is in your own hands. Call the East Carolina Law Group to schedule a free consult for your end-of-life planning.