The coronavirus pandemic served as a wake-up call for many about their mortality and the uncertainty of life.
But with or without the global health threat, you should still be mindful of what would happen to your finances and assets in the event of your demise. That said, having a will prepared before you pass away is a must if you want to ensure that your money and properties go to the people you’d want them to.
Dying with No Will
Dying without a will would result in your assets being automatically passed down to your legal heirs, whether or not they’re the ones you want to receive the inheritance.
And if you’re a parent with young children, passing away without a will means that the decision of who will serve as guardian to your kids would have to be determined by your state’s court. This may not be ideal for many people.
It’s also worth noting that a will is but a part of an estate plan, which is a more detailed document that dictates everything from your estate’s executor to the beneficiaries of your specific properties.
What Can’t Be Passed on
Another thing you should know is that not everything can be passed on through a will. For example, assets like your 401(k) plans and insurance policies will go to the person (or persons) named in those accounts.
The same applies to your regular bank accounts. You would already have chosen a beneficiary for those accounts when you listed a name on the payable-on-death (POD) form.
However, if you didn’t assign a beneficiary for the mentioned non-will assets, they would then be distributed to your legal heirs after all of your debts have been paid.
How to Get a Will
To get your will in order, get in touch with an estate planning attorney in your state. Choosing one in your local area would ensure that they are knowledgeable about the laws that apply in your case.
You can also try online alternatives. Just be reminded that not all of these websites would be specific enough for your state’s laws.
Going the Internet route is much cheaper though, as it would likely only cost you $60 to have a will made through software. Consulting with attorneys can run from several hundred dollars to over $1,000.