According to the global analytics firm Gallup, only about 44% of Americans have created a will. This finding may not surprise you. After all, no one wants to be reminded of their mortality or dwell on what might happen upon their death, so writing a last will and testament is seldom prioritized on the to-do list of a Millennial or Gen Xer. What may surprise you, though, is the statistic cited by personal finance website The Balance: Around 35% of Americans aged 65 and older lack a will.1,2
A will is an instrument of power. By creating one, you gain control over the distribution of your assets. If you die without one, the state decides what becomes of your property, with no regard to your priorities.
A will is a legal document by which an individual or a couple (known as “testator”) identifies their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets after death. A will can typically be broken down into four parts:
A do-it-yourself will may be acceptable, but it may not be advisable. The law does not require a will to be drawn up by a professional, so you could create your own will, with or without using a template. If you make a mistake, however, you will not be around to correct it. When you draft a will, consider enlisting the help of a legal, tax, or financial professional who could offer you additional insight, especially if you have a large estate or a complex family situation.
Remember, a will puts power in your hands. You have worked hard to create a legacy for your loved ones. You deserve to decide how that legacy is sustained.
1 – https://news.gallup.com/poll/191651/majority-not.aspx [4/24/18]
2 – https://www.thebalance.com/wills-4073967 [4/24/18]
3 – https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/naming-more-one-executor.html [12/3/18]
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