Recently in the news, there was a story about the family of the late Robin Williams, fighting over his estate. I didn’t get to hear all of the details, but it saddened me that things ended up this way. While a will won’t solve everything ñ and in some cases, people will contest a will and having a will goes a long way in making sure that your possessions go to where you want them to go. A will also provides comfort to those you left behind. Below are the reasons why you need to have an up-to-date will.
Provides Peace of Mind
Going through the grieving process takes a lot out of most people. The last thing they want to do is try to figure out who gets what and where everything is. By having a will, you help those you love by taking care of things ahead of time. They don’t have to concern themselves with who gets your baseball card collection or your coin collection. You can specify that in your will.
You can also avoid any disputes about money. Since money is the reason most people fight, you will be able to avoid this by having a will. You can specify how much each person gets and when they get it. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that they still won’t fight over the money. But, since you specified where the money goes, the court will follow your wishes (unless there is some major reason why it shouldn’t, like a falsified will or something).
Lastly, a will provides you with peace of mind. Remember that coin collection I mentioned above? By noting in your will that you want your nephew to have it, you know he will cherish it because of his love and interest in coins. If you don’t specify where it goes, your heirs could end up just selling it at a yard sale for pennies (no pun intended).
Make Sure It Is Up To Date
In many cases, people make a will when their first child is born, then they forget about it completely. They might think they are doing the right thing because they have a will, but they really aren’t. The reason for this is simple ñ a lot has changed since the birth of your child. Maybe you had a second child. If your will isn’t updated, then your second child isn’t getting anything since they aren’t even mentioned in the will.
Or maybe you made some serious money since you first drafted your will. This will lead to trouble because your will only talks about the few accounts you had at the time. It makes no mention of the new investment account with $500,000 in it.
Why You Need A Will
Lastly, and I hope this encourages you get a will if the other reason haven’t, is that without a will your estate goes into probate. This is a fancy way of saying the court decides who gets what. Each state is different in its process but usually your spouse gets your estate. If you don’t have a spouse, then your first born gets your estate. If you don’t have kids, then it can go to either your siblings or your parents.
In other words, you have no control over anything. Maybe you would like your kids to have something and not give everything to your wife. Or maybe you want to give something to a niece or nephew. The point is, without a will, you have zero say in your belongings and it is all determined by a court of law. Not another person, but by a set of rules that the court has to follow. Personally, I don’t like the option of that.
I hope this nudges you to get a will. If you are young and don’t have many possessions, you might balk at the idea. Don’t make this mistake. You still have things, decide who gets what. The cost for drafting a basic will won’t be a burden either. Not having one however, could easily be a burden on your loved ones.