Are you part of the 57% of Americans that do not have a will in place? It can be easy to put off estate planning when you feel like you have your whole life ahead of you. Maybe you don’t think you have many assets or drawing up a will sounds time consuming and expensive. Regardless of your financial status, it is still important to know exactly who will receive and benefit from your personal belongings and assets after you pass.
You want to decide who gets your assets
Your immediate family members and spouse would be the recipients of your assets if you did not have a will in place. If you own anything that you would want friends or other family members to have, it is important that you officially specify this. No one wants to think this way, especially when you’re young. However, tomorrow is not promised to any of us, and it provides peace of mind to know that your belongings and assets will go to exactly the right people. You can also appoint a executor to carry out your final wishes and manage things like closing your credit cards and handling any debts you may owe. It’s important to know that you having the final say in each aspect of your assets and final requests.
You want to make the process easier on your family
Probate is a lengthy and expensive process in which a will is determined authentic by a court. If for example you have life insurance, your family would need to go to probate court before they received any of those benefits. By completing some basic estate planning documents, you can help your family during this difficult time and make this process easier on them. The last thing anyone wants to do while they mourn is handle complicated paperwork and court related matters. This is also an opportunity to prevent familial disagreements. Making it clear what you want to go to each family member and friend takes the guess work out of it for them and allows them to focus on other important matters at that time.
You are in the military
Anyone that has joined the military should be sure to have an estate plan. If you are 18 and just joined, this includes you too. Should you find yourself in a situation where you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself, appointing someone power of attorney is important. Any legal, financial and medical decisions can then be taken care of for you by someone you trust.
You own a pet
Just as with important assets, determining what will happen to your animals is crucial should you no longer be around to care for them. Knowing that they have a plan in place to go to a home that is agreed upon in advance ensures peace of mind for yourself. If you are concerned that the expense of your pet may be to great to pass along, you can specify that the profits earned from the sale of specific items goes to the new owner. Our pets are like family and must always be considered should the unthinkable happen.
You have social media accounts
If you are a part of the 243.6 million people that use social media in the United States alone, chances are there is important information in your accounts. This may include photos, documents and possibly finances. It may be difficult for your family to know how to access these, or what you would want done with this information. Important information to include are passwords, usernames and instructions on whether you want your accounts cancelled or left up for family and friends to visit. Another option is to create a memorial profile. This allows people to visit your profile but doesn’t allow anyone to post anything new.