While estate planning saw a slight increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fact remains that most Americans simply do not have a legally binding will or testament. According to CNBC, 62% of Americans have not put their intentions to paper with the help of an estate planning attorney. The most common reason given by Americans without a will is that they mistakenly believe they do not have enough assets to warrant a will. A will isn’t always about assets, either. If you have children, your estate planning can literally determine who will care for your kids, as well as how your assets are to be divided and issued.
Do I Need A Will If I Don’t Have Any Assets?
The short answer is yes. Even if you don’t have money tucked away or a life insurance plan, there are plenty of reasons that you and your family can still benefit from estate planning. If you have any belongings, such as a car, furniture, musical instrument, or anything of monetary value, it is crucial to have a plan for those assets so that they don’t end up in the hands of the state instead of a loved one. Your belongings don’t always necessarily go to the next of kin.
Above material goods, many items simply have a ton of emotional significance attached to them. Your grandmother’s favorite gumbo pot, or your uncle’s stopwatch from the Vietnam war may not be worth much more than a few bucks, but emotionally, they cannot be quantified. Without clear instructions of “who gets what,” families can suffer needless heartbreak when divvying up your personal items.
Do I Need Estate Planning If I Don’t Have Life Insurance?
Many people would be surprised to know that they may carry insurance that they are unaware of. Several credit card companies opt credit holders in on low-cost insurance policies in their fine print. If you do not have a designated beneficiary, your money could end up in probate, meaning that no one in your family gets the money, or it takes a very long and complicated set of legal resources to get it. A will is an affordable way to ensure that all of your assets are uncovered and distributed to your loved ones in the event of your death.
Am I Too Young For a Will?
If you are of working age, you are never too young to have a legal will drafted up by an experienced attorney. Even if you don’t have a lot of money or belongings, it’s a good idea for no other reason than that in the event of your death, your family will have a much more difficult time legally sorting out the mess that can be caused by a lack of estate planning. According to Stacy Francis, CEO of Francis Financial, “A well-planned estate plan is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give your family.”