As an estate planning attorney in Summerville, SC, I know that planning for when you’re gone is a scary but necessary action to take. Plenty of people wait until the last moment to think about what will happen to their belongings when they’re gone. That, however, is not an awesome idea. Considering that you don’t know when or how you will die, you could be leaving your family with nothing if you were to be in an accident. The older you get, the more people there are who depend on you. Do your family a favor and consider managing your estate and planning for that dim possibility. While it isn’t the happiest thought, hunkering down and planning for your eventual death by drafting your will can help not only your family but also you and the way you live your life.
Many modern-day Americans ignore their death. It’s as if humans are invincible. And with the rising rates of lifespan and quality of life, why wouldn’t you try to forget about death for a while until it’s knocking at your door? The reality is that although our lives are probably going to be longer and healthier than our ancestors’, we still need to make sure we face the idea of our death. Experts say that everyone needs to consider what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up; thinking about your death can transform and enhance the way you choose to live life now. Instead of avoiding aspirations, you can create something that will outlast you and touch countless lives that will tell your story. Studies show that once a person realizes life is finite, that person is far more likely to live life the way they want to. Too often we become bogged down in the rut of working. We let our lives become run by the activities we feel obligated to attend, and we log hours instead of goals achieved and dreams captured. The whiff of death has us running to comforts — food, drugs, sex, temporary distraction. We will do anything to forget about our own mortality for a while. But what would happen if you ran toward the fear of death? By facing the idea head-on, you open up a world of possibilities and chances for new experiences. If this sounds too big and unachievable, you can start with a simple first step: paperwork.
Writing your will is a small but incredibly important step in the process of accepting your mortality. Once you have written your will, you ensure the safety of your assets and the well-being of your family once you are gone. Without a will, you quite literally bet your money on life every day. If something were to happen to you, the state would divvy out your estate according to state law. This does not necessarily mean your assets will go where you intend them to. For the true security of your estate, you will need to sit down with a professional and draft a full and complete will.
When is the Right Time to Draft Your Will?
Maybe you feel you are too young to be writing your will. Maybe it feels like you’re giving up on a life you have barely begun. In truth, writing your will means you are embracing this life and planning for your future. Here are some of the appropriate times to draft a will:
- Marriage: Getting married (or divorced, or remarried), will likely shift the names listed as beneficiaries in your will. Note that wills made before marriage are canceled unless otherwise stated in the will.
- Children: Having a baby means you need to update your will so your child will be properly provided for. It also means you can select someone as a guardian should both you and your spouse die. If you do not update your will to reflect these wishes, the state chooses someone to care for your child.
- Business: Starting a business means your assets may change in the coming years. You should include whether or not you would have your business passed on to a family member.
- Home: Buying a house, or any other large asset, is a major change in the value of your estate. Since this kind of purchase is an investment, it could mean your family will need to take care of any outstanding payments after your death. On the other hand, it could mean a change in taxes in the future if the investment provides dividends.
- Illness: If you or someone stated in your will has a health scare, it’s best to update your will. If a beneficiary has passed, you will want to remove that person from the document. Likewise, if you are suffering from a serious illness, you will want to make sure your papers are in order.
It isn’t a bad idea to update your will if it’s been a number of years since you’ve looked at it. People whom you once listed as beneficiaries may not belong there anymore. You want to make sure it remains accurate to your wishes so you and your family don’t end up in a tight spot should an accident occur.
For professional legal assistance with writing your will, contact Watts Law Firm today. If you fit into one of the above categories, you can’t draft one too soon. Don’t let the fear of death keep you from planning for your future and living your best life.