Despite all that we hear about wills and inheritances, many Americans believe they do not need a will. In fact, over 70% think that a will is unnecessary for themselves. However, everyone should remember that regardless of their net worth, they need a will. Read on to discover why one piece of paper is so crucial…
The biggest reason in the world to have a will is to protect what we truly cherish in this life: our families. A will becomes essential when it comes to things like splitting up your belongings after you die. After all, your family needs to deal with your death, not try and figure out who gets what. Life is full of terrible accidents, and no one lives forever, so help your family out while you’re still around!
More importantly, if you have younger children, a will allows you to name a guardian for the kids and add an alternate guardian just in case (at least that’s what professionals recommend). When both parents die without documentation, only a probate court judge can assign a guardian. And you probably know who’ll care about your kids better, right?
Of course, money isn’t the only thing to consider while setting up a will. What about physical assets, like real estate or vehicles? Unfortunately, most U.S. citizens do not believe they have enough physical property, or it’s not worth enough, to mention. However, not adding on-paper assets like houses, cars, life insurance payouts, and even your retirement plan to a will can mean your family won’t receive these upon your death.
However, when you set up the document, the most important thing to do is to match the beneficiaries that you write down to those stated in the insurance policy, 401(k), and retirement accounts. Otherwise, banks and other financial institutions might be able to legally not pay.
Setting Up A Will
Believe it or not, people worry about paying for wills the most. Taking a look online, prices can range anywhere from $250 to $1,000. However, many do not know that legal clinics can make a simple will for as little as $75. Moreover, it’s also possible to do it online for free! If taking matters into your own hands, make sure to get it notarized. Otherwise, it’s not official!
Experts also recommend making a living will and, potentially, a trust. A living will dictates all the medical wishes of its creator if they can’t make decisions on their own (in a coma or a vegetative state). It’ll let family members know what to do and what needs to prioritize. Trusts are for those with a multitude of assets, some not covered by traditional documents. While trusts can cost at least $2,000, and often more, it can protect the heirs from stupid decisions and expensive taxes.
Updates To A Will
Okay, so you’ve set up a will and had it notarized, now what? Well, don’t forget to check the document regularly, and make changes if necessary. If any amendments are made, make sure the current will is obvious, let your lawyer and family know, as well as getting the new version notarized. Otherwise, you’ve spent lots of money for nothing! As always, talk to a financial expert if you have any questions!