According to an article written last year in Forbes magazine, more than 70% of Americans don’t have a will or have a will that is outdated, with 63% of Americans having no will at all and 9% of Americans having a will that is outdated. In other words, chances are you don’t have a will. Why?
Perhaps you haven’t gotten a will because it scares you to think about passing away or what will happen afterward. And after all, who wants to spend money on something that won’t directly benefit him or her and won’t be that useful until after he or she has passed away?
While it’s true that existing law attempts to detail what will happen to your property if you pass away without a will, this law is very general in nature and dictates only what each of your heirs’ percentage shares of your property will be. It does not, however, provide for what specific items of property each heir will receive. We’ve all heard horror stories about families fighting over a deceased loved one’s estate. When there is no will, or only a poorly drafted will, one’s heirs can end up in a long and expensive court battle over something as seemingly simple as a family heirloom. All of this could have been avoided with a simple, relatively inexpensive will.
These feuds are more common now because of the ever-changing dynamics of family structures, especially when it comes to outdated wills. Divorces are more common than ever and more couples are living together without getting married. It is important to have a will created or updated after every single life-changing event, including divorce, separation, and even gaining a new significant other who resides with you.
Passing away without a will also means that your heirs will be forced to track down all your assets to ensure they are properly transferred and distributed. Your failure to have a proper will can can end up costing your heirs a lot of time and money to conduct a thorough enough investigation to ensure a complete and proper transfer of all assets. A proper will should describe the person’s property and its location so that the executor can easily and efficiently carry out the deceased person’s wishes by locating and transferring each and every item of property.
We all face the certainty of death, and the grief and other consequences it brings to loved ones. Isn’t it worth your resources to act now and leave your loved ones with as little strife as possible? A well-drafted will is intended to allow your loved ones to focus their attention on mourning and looking forward in life, rather than becoming embroiled in a painful family conflict. Why wouldn’t everyone want that for their families?