All Adults Need a Will, No Matter Your Stage in Life

Estate Planning - August 3, 2019
Single mother standing with her arms around her pre-teen son

Creating a Will

Most people under a certain age haven’t given much thought to a Will. Either they’re not at the age when death is something that enters their thinking, unexpected or not, or they don’t think they have enough assets of value that are worth worrying about if they should die. Wills are something for those later in life, closer to the end, and with more to divide amongst grown children and grandchildren. A Will is definitely not something we want to think about in the prime of our lives, because who wants to think about death at any point?

Unpleasant as it may be to think about, death is a reality for all ages, and it’s not something that waits until you have your affairs in order. Only 4 in 10 Americans have a last Will and Testament or a Living Will, according to a 2019 survey.  And though we think that we’re more prepared for end-of-life possibilities as we get older, only 18% of those 55 and older have all three of a Will, Healthcare Directive, and Durable Power of Attorney — essentials for handling your care and estate.

Anyone of age with a family and minimal possessions would do well to have a Will in case of the unexpected. Wills are not just for passing on items; they’re particularly important for those with children or pets to make sure that the care and guardianship of dependents are in writing, rather than left up to the judgment of the courts.

Why young adults should consider having a Will

If you’re a young adult, you’re old enough to have accumulated some stuff and, with any luck, a little bit of money. It’s probably not enough money for you to have thought about a Will, though, particularly if you don’t have any kids beyond the four-legged kind. And if we’re being honest, most of us, young and old, have wondered why any of that planning matters, because, after all, we’re dead, so it’s not our problem — maybe not our best moment, but an honest one.

Millennials aren’t alone in not planning for the end; while only 18% of those aged 18-34 have a Will, the numbers for those through their mid-50s aren’t that much better, particularly given that those groups are more likely to have more people and things that need to be taken care of. Nevertheless, everyone has something of value, and every adult should plan how they want their possessions divided should they pass; otherwise, it’s left to the courts.

What young people may yet lack in accumulated tangible assets they make up for in digital content. In addition to planning for the distribution of your physical possessions, a will can account for how to handle your pictures and videos and digital accounts — it might seem trivial in the bigger scope, but they do represent a chronicle of your life that your loved ones will want to hold onto. At the very least, you want to save your family the difficulty of having to deal with the probate process, in which a court would determine what to do with your assets upon your death.

And if you do have furry children, you want to make sure that your pets are taken care of after your death and given to a friend or family member that will provide the best home for your faithful companion. An oral agreement or understanding likely isn’t enough; make sure those details are down in writing in case of your untimely demise. Also, a bit of a finer point, but check with an expert to ensure that you have the correct number of witnesses for your signature, as it varies by state.

In addition, couples that are ready to get married should consider creating or updating their Will.

A Will is a must for expecting parents or those with small children

If you are the parent of a young child or are expecting, a Will is an absolute must. Crafting a Will ensures that not only will your assets be left to your children, but that their welfare is taken care of as well. Without a Will, the courts will appoint a legal guardian for your child should both parents die, and that decision might not reflect the parents’ wishes without a written Will to state otherwise. You need someone who will be able to safeguard the assets left to your child until they’re of age, or in the case of trusts, someone who can be trusted to manage and use the money in a responsible manner for your child’s care and education.

Parents also need to consider life insurance payouts in formulating their Wills. That money can also go towards supporting their children and family in the wake of their death, provided that they spell out the terms and conditions for payment in their Will.

Update your Will regularly

You might be the responsible type who already has a Will, for which you should certainly be commended. But a Will isn’t something that can be created and checked off as done, forgotten about until your demise. Wills require updates to reflect changes to your life and the lives around you. Maybe you’ve acquired more assets or sold off a property; maybe there’s been a birth, death, divorce or remarriage. Whatever it may be, the odds are that your life isn’t exactly the same as it was the day you signed your Will, and you want to make sure that the people currently in your life are the ones named in your Will. To that end, you can create a codicil to your existing Will — an addition, essentially — or create an entirely new Will.

One crucial tip in creating a Will: making sure that your loved ones are able to find it. A well-crafted Will is of no use to anyone if it’s never found. Make sure that your Will is stored in a safe place, and that the executor knows where it is and is able to access it easily once the time comes.

Creating a Will has never been easier!

No matter what age you are, you need a Will. One of the greatest benefits of a LegalShield Membership is the ability to create different types of Wills. If you do not have a Will or want to make revisions to your existing Will, lawyers from LegalShield’s dedicated provider law firms are here to help. LegalShield provides quick answers, professional consultation, and further guidance to make sure your Will is everything you desire.  With LegalShield, members can easily start the process to create their Will and even have it updated annually. Learn how LegalShield can help you get started with your Will today.

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