You’ve heard of a will, but do you know what it is? If not, don’t worry–I’m not here to guilt you. In fact, only 1/3 of adults even have one in place.
If you’re part of the majority without a will, some of the problem might be a lack of understanding what a will is, its benefits, or the process of putting one together. Hopefully the following gives you clarity on your next steps.
What is a will?
A will (also known as a “Last Will and Testament”) is a legal document that outlines your wishes for after you pass away.
As you can imagine, not having a record of your wishes can make things messy for your heirs. It can be a lot of “he said, she said” which can cause division in your family.
A will isn’t what you think it is…
Here are three truths about wills:
A will is not just for people with a large amount of assets.
Some think only people with a large estate or significant amount of assets need a will. This is not true. There is no net worth requirement to have a will.
If you have assets you want given to your beneficiaries, you should have a will. Sure, people with large amounts have more at stake (more money, more problems), but you want to make sure that your belongings go to the correct person.
A will is not the only thing you need.
I want to encourage you to get a will, just make sure it’s not the only piece of estate planning you do.
Did you know that life insurance and retirement accounts have designated beneficiaries? You likely named one or more people as beneficiaries when you opened these accounts. Similarly, you can name a “transfer on death” on your bank accounts. This designation names a person(s) to receive the funds in your account when you pass away.
Make sure your beneficiaries and transfer on death designations are up to date. If your IRA beneficiary is someone you no longer want—too bad. A will won’t remedy this!
Get a will, but make sure your beneficiary designations are current.
A will is not complicated.
Obtaining a will can seem like a chore. Yes, there is some level of involvement, but it’s actually not that complicated.
Thankfully you have many options of where to have a will completed. Not only are there online providers, but more and more employers are offering estate planning as an employee benefit. If you’d rather have someone walk you through it, Stewardship works with a Certified Legal Document Preparer. Plus, we make the process easy and we provide the notary!
Lastly, an estate planning attorney can be a great option. While an attorney costs more, it can be well worth the price. If you need legal advice, have a more complex situation, or are concerned about family dynamics, you might benefit from working with an attorney.
What does a will do for you?
I told you—a will is NOT complicated. There is no shortage of ways to get your will completed. But how does it benefit you once it’s in place?
- Makes life for your heirs easier
- Makes sure your assets are distributed properly
- Names a guardian for your minor children
If you still need a will—we are here to help. Just schedule a quick phone call to get access to our online questionnaire.