August is National Make-A-Will Month, meaning it's the perfect time to take action and make sure your estate is planned and up to date.
According to a 2021 Gallup poll, more than half of American adults have not executed a will. If you are among them, now is the time to get it done.
Not having a will can ultimately create unnecessary expenses and stress for your loved ones. It also means your assets will be distributed according to state laws, probably not reflecting your wishes.
Having a will, on the other hand, allows you to:
- Make provisions for the payment of your debts, administration expenses, and taxes.
- Provide for specific distributions (certain personal possessions, for example, may have special meaning to particular heirs).
- Provide for the individual needs of one or more of your children or other loved ones.
- Support your charitable interests and reduce the size of your estate, possibly saving taxes for your loved ones.
- Leave the remainder of your estate to your surviving spouse.
It's important not to make a will and then forget it. Review it periodically and revise it if circumstances dictate a different disposition of property. An excellent will drawn 20 years ago may not be appropriate today.
Remember: To die without a will is to do a disservice to your family and loved ones. By contrast, a thoughtfully prepared and carefully drafted will can provide peace of mind for both you and your beneficiaries. What's more, you can memorialize a lasting interest in our organization. A custom will makes it possible for you to arrange your gifts so they can support your charitable interests and reduce taxes.
A will further allows you to name an executor to collect, manage, and distribute your estate's assets according to your wishes. Without a will, the state will appoint an administrator whose actions are severely restricted by law.
A will also permits you to provide income for a surviving spouse beginning at your death and continuing until other income starts to flow by setting up a life-income plan. It also allows you to name a guardian for minor children. Without a will, the state will appoint a guardian who must seek approval from a probate court for nearly every action involving your children's property.
August lasts 31 days. Take a few of them to inventory your assets, meet with an experienced estate attorney, and draft a will that will be an enormous service to your family, loved ones, valued causes, and favored organizations. Although you will incur some costs in time and money, creating a will is, nevertheless, one of the wisest investments you will ever make.