Do you know exactly when you will die? If the answer is, “no,” then you should have a will. Whether you’re 27 or 82, a will can save your loved one’s additional distress after you’re gone. And if you’re a parent of children, having a will is doubly important.
Yes, we’re talking about a will to detail how your property is distributed. If something happens to you, what happens to your house, your dog, and that ring your grandmother gave you?
Laws vary by state, but generally, they dictate that if you’re married and you die without a will, the house, the ring and the dog will go to your spouse. If you’re unmarried, everything may go to your parents. If your married and have children, your property is split between your spouse and your children.
In some cases, this might be exactly what you want. But what if it’s not? What if your husband always hated the dog? If the ring, rightfully should go to your sister? Making a Will or having a basic estate plan ensures your hard-earned money and property goes to precisely the people you would like to benefit. You can do it yourself using an online template, or you can hire an attorney. The Miller-Dwan Foundation has forms available to simplify the process.
But you also need documents that specify who you want to help you in case you’re hurt and can no longer speak for yourself. Someone you can trust to manage your assets while you’re incapacitated and make critical medical care decisions based on your preferences. So, in addition to a will or estate plan, you also want a health care directive. Click here to find more information and to find forms specific to your state.
Depending on your circumstances, you may want to consider additional forms. The Miller-Dwan Foundation can provide attorney referrals
Research shows that 60% of Americans die without a will, potentially leaving their family and friends with acrimony, distress and possible legal fees. Older Americans are more likely to have made a Will, but the importance of doing so is no less for those who are younger. Failure to put your affairs in order and make a Will can have devastating effects on loved ones, leaving them to sort out complex issues in the middle of their grief.