We all have probably heard the statistic about how 55% of adult Americans die without having a will in place. I think there are 3 main reasons people do not get a will and I am going to address them all now.
#1 Reason You Do Not Have a Will-
You are not going to die.
People do not want to think about their own mortality. People, myself included, are constantly saying things like, “If I die…” followed by knocking on some wood. The reality of it is that we are all going to die one day. Denying the inevitable, and not preparing for it, does not make it any less likely to occur.
It is uncomfortable and even depressing to consider how you would want your property divided up and who you would want to distribute your assets on your behalf. No one wants to seriously consider whether one child would be more responsible handling your final wishes over another. Or whether your best friend would want to take on the role of executor.
I understand all of those things. But, ask anyone who has lost a loved one who died without a will and they will tell you how much harder the process was for them. I mean, consider losing a parent, spouse, or child and then in the midst of your unbearable grief you have to decide how they would have wanted their estate divided up. But you don’t know that answer. You have to decide if they wanted to be cremated or buried. But you don’t know that answer. You have to find out if they had rented a storage unit or safety deposit box. But you don’t know that answer.
Having a will in place does not make you die faster. It does not make you more vulnerable to the Angel of Death. It simply means you are responsible, and it should bring you peace of mind knowing that one day, when you are no longer here, things will be easier for the ones you are leaving behind.
#2 Reason You Do Not have a Will-
If you die without one, your kids won’t fight over anything anyway.
I’ve heard many people explain to me that they do not need a will because, if they die, their kids will inherit everything anyway, whether they have a will or not. Since they want their children to inherit everything having a will is unnecessary.
You may be right. Maybe you have kids who will, by default, automatically inherit all of your earthly belongings one day. Maybe, your kids are highly sophisticated and classy youngsters who will not even squabble over any material possession you may have owned. Maybe they truly do not care for material items and simply want to work together on liquidating your estate and helping one another through a difficult time.
But, more likely, your children are normal. More likely, even though your kids love you and one another, they will both want a specific item that holds sentimental value. Maybe it was Dad’s classic corvette that was his pride and joy? Or Mom’s engagement ring she wore every day for the last thirty years? Wouldn’t it be nice if your kids didn’t ever have to have one single argument about these things because you took the initiative to address it in your will?
Also- for the families that truly do have amazing children who would never ever fight over any aspect of dividing up an estate. I leave you this thought- would your children fight over whether or not you wanted an open or closed casket? Whether you wanted your ashes sitting in an urn above the fireplace or spread out over the Appalachian Mountains?
Even the best families with the most wonderful children should not be forced to make such difficult choices because you did not take the time out to make those decisions for yourself, while you were still alive. These decisions can tear a grieving family apart. But, the good news is that if you have a will, they are 100% avoidable.
#3 Reason You DO Not have a Will-
You are young and healthy.
Yes, you are less likely to die when you are young and healthy. In fact, I read once that the decade of your 30s is when you are LEAST likely to die. I think that all of the craziness and risk taking that comes with youth has started to fade and all of the ailments that come with old age or an unhealthy lifestyle has not yet kicked in. But, unfortunately, we all probably still know someone who has died in their thirties. Whether it be a car accident, cancer, or the negligence of another person- death can still happen to the young and seemingly healthy.
Also one of the most important reasons someone young and healthy should have a will is because they have children, or may have them one day. What if something happens to you and your spouse at the same time? Do you know what would happen to your babies? Most parents probably know who they would want to raise their children in their absence, but in reality, it may not play out that way once you are gone. But, if you have a will in place that specifically states your desires, the odds of your children being raised by the person you chose is very high.
Or maybe the idea of your child inheriting a large amount of money is very scary. In my personal opinion, almost no good can come from anyone under the age of 23 having access to tens of thousands of dollars. I have even had the opportunity to speak with a 23 year old who had inherited about $20,000 at the age of 18 and had spent every last cent in that first year with not a thing to show for it. He told me that he wished he could have that money again because now he would do it differently. But, you don’t get second chances with this sort of thing.
However, you can put clauses in your will stating that any inheritance going to your child (or niece, nephew, grandchild, etc.) will be placed in a trust account that cannot be accessed until that child is a certain age. You can even have a trust account set up in a way that states that they cannot get their inheritance until they graduate college, buy their first home, or any other clause that you feel will help to ensure their success.
Everyone should have a will. This includes you.
Do not take a difficult time for your loved ones and make it worse.
Give them answers to those difficult questions that they will be asked in your absence.
Ensure that your kids will have the best future possible.
A will is an affordable and responsible way to ensure that your last wishes are upheld.
Pick up the phone and make that call. 484.560.7457.
Be happy. -Angel