I'm only 30, do I need a will?
Before I answer that question, let’s define what a will is. According to Investopedia, a will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of any minor children upon your death. Your assets include things like your cash, investment accounts, and any real estate you own. Sounds like a pretty important document, right?
Based on that definition, if you have assets or children, you should definitely have a will. Upon your death, if you have a will, your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, that were recorded while you were alive.
If you don’t have a will, things can get complicated. Dying without a will is called "dying intestate". In these cases, the state law will determine what happens to your assets. In many states, your spouse or children will inherit your assets.
If you don’t have a spouse or children and you don’t have a beneficiary listed on your assets, things could get very tricky. Without a will, your assets could be distributed to people who you would have preferred not to have them. Even worse, your family could end up in court fighting over who gets your assets, while they should be celebrating your life and honoring your legacy.
If you’re young and don’t have any assets or children, you may not need a will right now. But as your situation changes, definitely consider getting a will to protect your assets upon your death.
It’s very important to work with an estate planner to help you draft the will. Since this is a very important document that can vary state to state, you want to make sure you’re working with a professional to ensure the document is prepared correctly.
Until next time, stay S.M.A.R.T. about your finances!