Did you know that only about half of middle-aged Americans have a will? According to a study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, only 55 percent of people over 55 years old in the United States have a last will and testament. Some famous examples of people who died without a will include music greats Aretha Franklin and Prince.
In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why we all are reluctant to draft a will for ourselves, and then go over the ten reasons why drafting a will is a good thing. Of course, if you want seasoned lawyers in Palm Beach, Florida to guide you through the will-drafting process, then you should look no farther than Doane & Doane.
At Doane & Doane, we have years of experience helping people, just like you, carefully draft a last will and testament, as well as do some important estate planning. Call us for a free consultation today at 561-656-0200.
Why Are We So Afraid of Drafting a Will?
The notion of our own death is a complex thing for most people. Accordingly, there are a number of reasons why we choose to put off the job of drafting a will.
Death is a difficult subject. Most people simply choose to avoid it altogether. The idea of considering your own mortality can be a real stumbling block.
Some of us put off creating a will because we believe that we do not have enough assets, that we are not rich enough, to justify having a will in the first place. But then again, who would you want to have your prized baseball card collection? And that said, even those who are well off still need a nudge to focus on drafting a will.
For those who do try to delve into the will-drafting process, they sometimes get bogged down with the number of decisions involved. Or, they get paralyzed by thinking of the impact each distribution will have on other family members.
Others perceive the expense of having to draft a will as prohibitive, even though it could be more expensive for family members in the long run if a person dies without a will. Indeed, one of the worst-case scenarios is for someone to begin the will-drafting process, with a lawyer, but fail to finish. A half-completed, or unsigned, will has no legal force or effect.
In sum, there are understandable reasons why we do not want to deal with drafting a will. Yet, doing so is incredibly beneficial for you and your loved ones.
The Ten Reasons
In no particular order, these are ten solid reasons why drafting, and executing, a last will and testament not only makes sound practical sense, but also will make you feel good as well.
- You Call the Shots. Your property will be transferred according to your wishes. You can avoid the state laws of intestacy, which would kick in if you died without a will.
- Child Guardians. You as a parent will be able to choose a guardian for your minor children or other dependents. Without a valid will, the government will step in to choose a guardian for your children and dependents.
- Vary Distributions. If you pass without a will, state law would typically mandate that assets are distributed equally. However, if you want to ensure that a disabled family member receives more than a family member who is well off, then you can put that in a will.
- Minimize Probate Expense. Naming an executor to administer your estate will help decrease probate and related expenses. You can name an executor in your will.
- Lower Estate Taxes. With the help of wills and estates lawyers in Palm Beach, Florida, you can draft a will in a way that will lower estate settlement costs, lower estate taxes, waive probate fees, and streamline the disposition of assets. All of that will result in a greater portion of your estate going to your beneficiaries, rather than the government.
- Control When Children Acquire Assets. If you believe that your children need a little time to mature before receiving certain assets, then you can delay distribution of a minor child’s share of your estate until an age that you deem appropriate.
- Reflect Your Values. If you care deeply aboutlay a charitable organization, or you have valuable keepsakes that you want to go to certain family members, then you can specify those wishes in your will. That way, your will can reflect the values that were important to you during your lifetime.
- Avoid Acrimony. A will is a clear directive from you. With such a clear directive of your wishes, it is much less likely that your survivors will challenge the disposition of the estate.
- Lessen the Burden. A will is also a thoughtful act that you are doing for your surviving family members. At your death, your survivors will need to handle your personal affairs. That can be challenging without a will because survivors will need to deal with probate issues, or even costly civil litigation.
- You Can Have a Say in How You Will Be Remembered. What matters most is that family and friends remember the experiences and moments you have shared with them. By giving particular family members certain items, valuable or not, you give them the gift of shared memories. Taking the time to do draft a will allows for that to be part of your legacy.
Top-Notch Lawyers in Palm Beach, Florida – Doane & Doane
At Doane & Doane we provide comprehensive legal assistance to you in all aspects of planning your estate, including creating a last will and testament. As probate lawyers in Palm Beach, Florida, we understand all of the emotional and delicate decisions that come along with drafting a will, and we are prepared to assist you in the process.
You may be surprised that the process is easier than you think. With our decades of experience as lawyers in Palm Beach, Florida, and the many resources we have at our disposal, we will be sure that you have create the last will and testament that will help you and your family. Call today at 561-656-0200.