It doesn’t take much explanation. We live in an unpredictable world. The COVID-19 pandemic is just one reason we don’t know what is going to happen today, tomorrow or in the future. It is not fun to talk about – I know. But it is important.
What will happen to your family, partner or kids if something happens to you? What will happen to your home? Your car? Your pets? Your bank and retirement accounts? Will your loved ones feel prepared to deal with such a situation?
Here are 4 reasons you should create a will (and soon) to protect your loved ones:
You just made a significant life change. If you just got married, had a baby or moved in with a partner, a will is something you should make a priority. These life changes mean your financial situation has likely changed and creating a contract for where your money goes is a must.
You want to control what happens to your stuff – and your dependents. According to Indiana law, unless you have a will, your assets will be divided mechanically, and often not in the way you would choose. Have an estranged family member? Without a will, that person may be entitled to a share of your estate. If you do not have a will (and a surviving spouse), a judge will decide who will take care of your kids and any other dependents.
You and your loved ones can breathe easy. Your will spells out your wishes if something should happen to you, giving you peace of mind knowing you have expressed your plans in a legally binding document. Your will also gives your surviving family certainty about what you want and sets them up with a professional resource to help them navigate the legal process. Your will eliminates some frustrating decisions, court battles and confusion.
The process is not as stressful as it sounds. The process is not as difficult as you think. It generally takes 1-3 consultations with an attorney to create a will. Yes, you will need to put together personal information and locate financial paperwork, but it does not require much more time than getting your license renewed at the BMV or having your taxes done. You may need to include your significant other in the consultations, but it will benefit you both.
If this still has you overwhelmed, the attorney you consult will explain the process, answer your questions, offer advice and help you feel comfortable with your plans. Once your will is created and signed, you will walk away with a sigh of relief.
This article was originally published in Inside Indiana Business – Perspectives. Melissa’s practice focuses on representing individuals in estate planning and estate administration proceedings. She also represents financial institutions in commercial lending transactions, commercial workouts and foreclosures, and real estate transactions. Melissa also represents secured and trade creditors in bankruptcy proceedings.