According to a 2015 survey by Rocket Lawyer, nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t have a will. The survey found that 27 percent of those individuals don’t feel any urgency to create a will, and an additional 15 percent say they don’t need one at all.1
Are you one of the many Americans who don’t have a will? There are a broad range of reasons why people don’t take the time to create a will, which is the most basic and fundamental estate planning tool. Some may think they don’t have enough assets to need a will. Others may think their family situation doesn’t require an estate plan. Others may simply want to avoid the topic of death.
No matter your reason for not creating a will, it’s important to consider the consequences of not having one. Your lack of a will could create big problems for your loved ones after you pass away. Below are a few risks and challenges your heirs could face if you don’t have a will:
Increased stress and anxiety for your loved ones.
A death always creates stress, anxiety and challenging emotions in a family. If you have dependents, they may face financial uncertainty in your absence. Even if your children are grown and out of the house, they may still face grief and other difficult feelings after you pass away.
A will can be used to minimize unnecessary stress and anxiety during this period. You can use your will to provide instructions on things like your burial wishes, how to manage outstanding business or financial issues, and even where certain assets are located. Think of your will as your final piece of advice and guidance to your loved ones. They’ll appreciate your help during an already difficult time.
Confusion and possibly conflict among your heirs.
You’ve likely accumulated a wide range of assets during your life. Those assets could include financial accounts, real property, collectibles and even items with sentimental value. One of the biggest tasks after your death will be to determine how those items should be distributed.
Without guidance from you, your heirs will have to sort out your estate on their own. That could lead to conflict as they disagree about which assets should go to which individuals. In fact, your heirs could end up in court battling over your estate.
You can use your will to provide specific instructions on which family members or other loved ones should receive which assets. You could state that assets should be split evenly among a group, such as your children, or you can specifically state that certain assets should go to certain individuals. Just keep in mind that assets with beneficiary designations, such as your 401(k) plan or IRA, aren’t governed by a will.
Your children ending up with the wrong guardian.
A will is always an important planning tool, but it’s even more important if you have minor children. You can use your will to state who should care for your children in the event that both parents are deceased. Without a will, the issue could be decided in court, and various family members could challenge for guardianship. It’s possible your kids could end up with people whom you likely wouldn’t have chosen.
Ready to develop your estate plan? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Baacke Insurance Services. We can help you analyze your needs and create a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.
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