August is National “Get a Will” Month
Did you know that a mere 40 to 50 percent of people in the United States have a will in place? Not surprisingly, older Americans are more likely to have a will – approximately 68 percent of people 65 and older do. However, only 14 percent of people age 30 and younger have a will. Socioeconomic status affects these percentages as well. 55 percent of Americans with a household income of $75,000 or more have a will, compared with 31 percent of those with an income of $30,000 or less. What about parents? Taking care of a child is instinctive, but what happens if both parents die prior to their child(ren) coming of age?! This is something that no parent wants to think about and as indicated by a survey conducted for Legalzoom.com in 2009, nearly 75% of parents do not have a Will at all.
Many people feel that getting a will is not necessary, too costly, and too complicated and time consuming. People may feel they are too young to need a will, or that they don’t have enough money or assets to warrant a will. Understandingly, not wanting to think about one’s own death or discuss intimate details with someone are also common reasons. Some are simply unsure where to start or believe it will be too costly.
National Get a Will Month was created to encourage people to create a will to provide peace of mind for them and their families. The immense emotions that a person feels when a loved one passes is enough to handle by itself. To think that you might be adding more stress to those you love by not giving them the most important tool to close your estate at your passing is heartbreaking. A Will is a gift that you give to the loved ones you leave behind.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, tomorrow isn’t promised. To take this fairly simple step of preparing a will will allow you to decide how your estate is distributed, who will take care of your minor children, choose an executor you trust to tie up your affairs, avoid a lengthy probate process, minimize estate taxes, and make the process easier on those you leave behind.
Having a Will prepared can range in price depending on the details of the Will and the family circumstances. Attorneys usually offer packages that include at least one face to face meeting. Then the attorney will prepare the Will according to the specifications discussed in the meeting. This can cost anywhere from $150 to $600 according to Legalzoom.com. There are many resources online for those who would like to prepare their own will without an attorney. Many of these sites are available at no cost.
Once your will is in place, you can rest at ease and enjoy your life knowing that in the event of your death, your affairs and loved ones will be taken care of. All you’ll need to do is update your will in these circumstances:
- Death of the individuals named in the will to receive all or a portion of the estate.
- The birth of children or grandchildren subsequent to the preparation of the will.
- Aquiring or disposing of assets
- Children who are no longer minors
If you don’t have a will in place or have loved ones who haven’t taken this important step, make a goal to get the ball rolling this summer in time for National Get a Will Month in August!