Having a will is a symbol of firmly entrenched adulthood (some may say middle age), so maybe this is why so many people put off formally writing down their final wishes until they have a family to care for and some money to leave them.
Even if you’re single or still young, think of the advantages of having a will in place:
You can arrange when children are given control of assets
You can lay down conditions for the distribution of your assets - as long as they’re legal
A will can be drawn up at any time to cater for specific circumstances in your life
You can give directions on how liabilities are to be settled. For instance, it’s common practice to order that the costs of a funeral be paid by the estate.
It’s best to sort out your will sooner rather than later (and that means younger, rather than older), because dying without a will, or ‘intestate’, means that, whatever assets you may have built up may be inherited by people you wouldn’t have chosen.
Of course, writing a will is always more important when you have a family and assets to leave to them. If you have children, you’ll want to appoint guardians for them if you pass away when they’re still minors. Furthermore, leaving money in a trust for your children makes sure their education and development will be taken care of.
Are DIY wills a good idea?
Though you can find hundreds of templates for wills on the internet, drawing up a will without professional help can have serious consequences:
You could write instructions that are unclear and, so, can’t be carried out
You could forget to insert vital clauses, such as revoking an earlier will
You could omit to include vital information, because you don’t have the benefit of an attorney, certified financial planner or fiduciary specialist
You could make the mistake of thinking that a software package or internet document asks all the same questions that a professional would ask
You may not have the correct number of witnesses, or it could be incorrectly signed
You may not have the expertise required to correctly set up Trusts and other mechanisms
You may not have the skills or experience to understand what taxes are triggered by death duties, how they are administered and when they become payable.
The time to draw up your will is now. Combined with proper financial planning, a will is a tool that can protect your assets and provide an easier future for your family.