Death and taxes. We all deal with both at one time or another in our lives. However, while taxes are a reality for the under 30 crowd, thinking about a will often is not. But being without a will, no matter your age, can leave your family with a litany of problems if you die unexpectedly.
Do I Really Need a Will?
The only person who doesn’t need a will is a single person with no children, no assets, and a lot of debt. For example, a 28-year-old, with no children, who just graduated college, would not need a will if they have no assets to distribute.
On the other hand, a newly married 25-year-old with a new home or other assets would need to have a will, especially if there are children in the picture. If that 25-year-old and spouse die at the same time, a will would dictate the couple’s wishes for the children’s upbringing, the assets that would be left to those children, and who those children would live with until they are adults.
Reasons You Need a Will
There are various reasons that a young person needs a will:
- Allows wealth to go to intended beneficiaries
- Protects young children
- When used in conjunction with estate planning, the tax amount can be reduced greatly
- Eliminates any unintended family members from receiving your assets
- Gives you peace of mind
The bottom line is that without a will, you leave your family’s future up in the air when you die.
Where Do I Begin When Making a Will?
The common consensus among estate experts is to hire a lawyer. With “do it yourself” online will preparation, it can be tempting to draft your own. However, don’t put your estate or heirs at risk. One little mistake made could put your entire estate at risk.
Based on attorney fees, drafting a will costs between $300 to $1000 for a simple, clear cut will. For a more complex will, such as one involving estate taxes, beneficiaries, and even ownership of a business, hiring an estate lawyer is probably best.
Word-of-mouth from friends and family when looking for a lawyer can be better than an online search. Don’t hire an attorney until you are sure you can trust them with your assets and family.
So, unless you are a footloose and fancy-free singleton with no kids and assets, be prepared and have a will. That legal document may not seem important now, but if you die, it may be a lifesaver for your family.