If you’re reading this, you still have time to benefit from it. Congratulations! Easiest win ever! If you don’t have a will, 55% of people are just like you.
What does a will do?
None of us like to think about what happens to our stuff if we aren’t around to take care of it. Who feeds the dogs? Who changes the litter box? Who tells Netflix we won’t be chilling anymore? Who makes sure dinner is hot and ready each night just in case you come back to life? (Yes, this actually was a request by John Bowman in 1891.)
You don’t have to be loaded with assets to have a will. Simply having some plans you want carried out is enough. So if you want your dog or cat to go to your best friend and not the local shelter, this would be the place to make that happen. Maybe you want your vinyl collection to go to your brother, this is where you say that. How about making sure a local charity receives $100 in your name? That’s done in a will. It’s even more important if you have kids, have a spouse, or own a home. In fact, in the absence of a will, the court gets to decide who cares for your kids since you didn’t clearly state who you want.
Do I need one?
The truth is, everyone (even you) has a plan in place, whether they know it or not. This is how it works:
If you don’t have a will and pass away, you are intestate. Basically people have to argue in court how you would have wanted things to be done. That sounds like fun. Everyone starts here and can change this by having a will.
When you have a will, it simply means your plans are written out and the court has something to go by when wrapping up your affairs. Call it the official guide to wrapping up your affairs.
Since I have a child, I have a will that gives my stuff to my spouse first and to him second. It also creates a plan to take care of any money I leave him until he’s old enough to handle it.
Where do I get one?
There are two options. You can use an online service or visit an attorney to have one drawn up. Giving Docs is an example of an online service. I gave it a test run and finished it in about 15 minutes. It also happens to be free right now, so that’s cool.
The other option is visiting an attorney. Usually estate planning attorneys can finish these things pretty quickly with the use of a questionnaire. Need to find one? The FindLaw link is below.
The best thing you can do is get something in place and then review it every 18-36 months to make sure it’s still what you want.