Google Review

Less Than Half of Americans Have a Will

I ran across an article by Gallup that found that less than half of Americans (46%) have a Will.  To be honest, I figured it would be lower than that.  So many people want to avoid the topic of death that I think it prevents a lot of people from even contemplating executing a Will.  For others, it is the cost and time.  What probably concerns me the most is that many of those who do have a Will likely did not discuss it with an attorney or it is outdated. Is that an issue? Not always, but there are so many times that I find people have entirely the wrong idea about what happens when they die and why a Will is important. 

Many people think a Will helps their loved ones avoid probate, but unfortunately it does not.  Certain things, like setting up a Trust might, but the expense of a Trust isn’t always worth it.  A Will helps direct the Court to your choice for the personal representative (or executor/executrix in some states) who will administer your estate.  It further directs the personal representative to what you want done with your assets. 

Why Do I Need a Will?  

Not everyone needs one.  If you want to make sure you have the person you want running things, that is a good reason.  If you want to change the way beneficiaries receive your assets, for example you may want to limit how much a young person gets or stagger the amount over time, that is another good reason.  You can also make specific gifts through a Will.  If you do not do a Will, your assets will be left to your heirs in accordance with Florida law, which may be fine, but if you want to deviate from that, a Will is a great way to do it.  Blended families, for instance, often have very different ideas for what happens to one spouse’s assets when they die compared to what Florida law may state. 

Finally, you will take the decision-making, or majority of it, out of everyone’s hands so that it is less likely people are fighting each other or arguing about what you wanted. Even the closest of families struggle with what to do and how to handle a loved one’s affairs after he or she passes away. 

The Importance of a Will | Contact Attorney J. Mason Williams 

It doesn’t hurt to discuss your options with an attorney.  When it comes to estate planning, there are numerous other things to consider as well like powers of attorney, living wills, health care surrogate designations, and pre-need guardian declarations.  At the end of the day, it is better to be prepared and know your options.  Be in the 46% of Americans who have a plan.  

If you need assistance with estate planning or a similar matter, feel free to contact Mason Williams.