There is a common misconception about when one should write a will. A recent study showed that almost 70% of U.S. citizens do not have a valid legal will in place. That same study showed that 90% of those 45 years old or younger did not have a legal will and had no plans for the near future to get one. A will is too often thought by many to be a once-in-a-lifetime act, which should happen when you are much older.
This is a stark misconception, as a will is something that one should draft as soon as they reach adult age and continue to revise and update it as the years go on and priorities and family matters change. To discuss drafting a will, reach out to a Virginia estate planning attorney today.
The reasons behind drafting a will early include the fact that tragedy can strike at any time. Younger people who die suddenly might leave family at the mercy of the probate court to handle their estates. They often leave debts behind – such as student loans – that are not covered by life insurance or other planning tools.
If you are in young adulthood, there are surely assets you have that you’d like to go to someone special or be donated to a particular organization if you died. Sentimental items of little value are something important that you can have divested to family members or friends through a will. The will can help you bequeath your favorite fishing pole to your best friend, for example, rather than allowing it to be lumped into the estate by the probate court and apportioned through intestate rules of inheritance to whomever a court decides, which would not include close friends.
If left to the intestate rules in the case you were to die without a will, a disliked family member may become the lucky beneficiary of the intestate rules for inheritance if the court has no will to determine how your estate is to be divided.
Furthermore, when children begin popping into the picture, it is important for a young parent to draft a will to ensure that his or her family is taken care of by the estate in the case of an untimely death. There are other estate planning tools that are useful if you have minor children, including living trusts.
Save your family and those you wish to inherit from your estate the turmoil of having to manage issues at probate court through the intestate inheritance rules. Instead, draft a will while you’re young so that no matter what, there will be some sort of ordered plan for the distribution of your estate.
It does not have to be your final will, as it should be redrafted and updated through the years. However, having one drafted in young adulthood is crucial to help your loved ones in avoiding the hassles of your passing without a will. Contact a Virginia estate planning lawyer at Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC, for more information.