After a long day, you’d probably rather kick up your feet and watch Netflix than discuss what will happen if your cat Meatball outlives you. No one likes talking about Wills because no one likes thinking about death—and we don’t blame you. The world feels heavy and we all need an escape from the endless onslaught of doomsday scenarios and daily responsibilities.
However, this mindset about Wills has led many of us to fail to create one, despite it being one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Below we dispel a few common myths about Wills, discuss who needs a Will and explore why you shouldn’t wait to create one.
What is a Will and Who Needs a Will?
A Will, also referred to as a Last Will and Testament, is a legal document that states your intentions for the distribution of your property and assets after you die. If you have children, a Will also outlines who will care for them if something happens to you.
So, who needs a Will? Despite what you see in movies, Wills aren’t just for wealthy folks that have greedy family members fighting over their belongings when they mysteriously die. Every person over the age of 18 needs a Will, regardless of their worth on paper. Arguably, creating a Will is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family.
Creating a Will right now— regardless of your age or financial situation—ensures that you have a say in who your estate will pass to and how your pets, property and minor children will be taken care of.
Listen to LegalShield Chief Legal Officer, Keri Norris, explain the importance of having a Will.
Why Do I Need a Will? 6 Reasons to Create One Now
1. Get the Final Say
Why do I need a Will, you ask? For one, if you pass away without a Will, you’re considered “intestate.” This means the laws of the state will direct how to divide up your estate, without your input. If you die without a Will and have no heirs, your estate could pass to the state. You should have the ultimate say in what you do with your assets and how your loved ones are taken care of when you pass.
2. Minimize Family Conflicts
We’ve all heard of cases where the surviving family members must grieve while squabbling with their siblings. Upon your death, your loved ones will want to mourn—not referee arguments. When it comes to your wishes, there should be no room for misinterpretation that could lead to conflict or legal action.
3. Ensure Your Loved Ones Are Cared For
If you have minor children, your Will also designates who will take care of them if something happens to you. Without a Will, the court must decide who is appropriate to be your children’s guardian—again, without your input. Having a Will makes it clear who you trust to become the guardian of your children. Your Will can also designate who will care for your beloved pets, who deserve all the best in life too.
4. Create a Lasting Legacy
Whether you wish to leave everything to your children and spouse or donate it to a charity with a mission that matters to you, a Will gives you the final say. Create a legacy that gives your life meaning instead of letting the state decide who will receive your assets.
5. Live for Today and Plan for Tomorrow
Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. It’s important to live in the moment but it’s also important to plan for the future—even if you’re still young and full of life. While some younger adults start a Will when they become financially independent from their parents, often in their early 20s, others create one when they get married or have children.
6. For Your Mental Health
Another reason you should have a Will is for your own mental health. As detailed in this recent Fortune Magazine article in which LegalShield was prominently featured, 54% of Americans don’t have a Will or trust, according to a LegalShield survey. And those without a Will are twice as likely to feel stressed and afraid as those with Wills. So let there be no doubt: a Will is in your best interest and your family’s best interest.
Learn how to create a Will online.
Write Your Will in 3 Easy Steps
There are many things to consider when writing your Will and we’re here to help. When you become a LegalShield Member, you get access to estate planning advice at no additional cost beyond your monthly membership fee. Your LegalShield lawyer can help you draft a Will, a Power of Attorney or an Advanced Healthcare Directive (also known as a Living Will) in just five business days in a few simple steps:
- Answer a few questions about your estate and belongings. For example, who should receive your wedding ring? Who would you trust to care for your children? Who is the best person to take care of your beloved pet? Who will inherit your assets and wealth?
- Fill out the Will questionnaire in the LegalShield mobile app and upload it directly to your provider law firm. Next, your estate planning lawyers will provide consultation, assist you with the process and make sure everything complies with state laws.
- Your provider lawyer prepares your Will, which you can update every year if needed. There are many reasons to update your Will and your lawyer will work with you to ensure that your changing life situation is reflected in your final wishes.
Speak With a LegalShield Lawyer to Get Started
Although it seems daunting and depressing, writing your Will is essential. When you become a LegalShield Member, you’ll get access to a lawyer who can help you handle the estate planning process from start to finish. For an affordable monthly rate, you’ll even have 24/7 legal advice available for covered legal emergencies. When it comes to estate planning, having that kind of support will ensure that you have the final say at the end—and that you leave behind a lasting legacy.
Our Last Will and Testament lawyers can help you create a Will online now.
LegalShield provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to LegalShield Members through member-based participation. Neither LegalShield nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation or advice. See a plan contract at legalshield.com for specific state of residence for complete terms, coverage, amounts and conditions. This is not intended to be legal or medical advice. Please contact a medical professional for medical advice or assistance and an attorney for legal advice or assistance.