Motley Fool’s article, “Nearly Half of Americans 55 and Over Are Making This Huge Financial Planning Mistake,” notes that almost 50% of Americans 55 and older don't have a will. If you're missing a will, it's critical to make the time to get this important document written, before something tragic happens and heirs are left in the lurch.
While creating a will might be uncomfortable, delaying won't keep you from having to contemplate your own mortality. Not creating a will places your family in a tough spot, if something happens and there’s no will.
Another reason that people put off writing their wills, is that they don't want to make their children uncomfortable by getting them involved in the process. Adult children are also frequently hesitant to start a dialog about parents’ estate planning. Nonetheless, those discussions are important to have.
Wills, trusts and estate plans are not just for wealthy people. If you own anything, including a home, a car and any bank accounts, you need an estate plan and that includes a will.
If you don't have a will, you won't have the opportunity to direct the way in which your property is distributed. Instead, the laws of probate will instruct how your investments and belongings are disbursed after your death.
Once you have that will created, keep it in a safe place—no, not in a shoebox under your bed. Instead, buy a fireproof safe and store it there. In addition, give your children or loved ones access, so they're able to locate your will in the event that it’s required.
It’s common to get advice that you should store your will in a safe deposit box at your bank. That works if your children or other trusted people in your life are permitted access to it. However, if you're the only account holder on that safe deposit box, your family may need to go through some legal machinations to get into it. When you enlist the help of an estate planning attorney to create your estate planning documents, she should also retain a copy of it on record. That's another great benefit to having an attorney create your will, rather than going it alone.
Creating a will can be unpleasant business, but it’s not something you should put off. Having that document in place will give you peace of mind—you’ll know that your wishes will be executed as you desire. That's reason enough to stop delaying and get going.
Reference: Motley Fool (February 16, 2019) “Nearly Half of Americans 55 and Over Are Making This Huge Financial Planning Mistake”