Every day people make excuses as to why they don’t protect their most valuable assets by having a will.
Classic excuses include:
- I don’t need a will because my wife/kids are going to inherit everything anyway. She/they’ll take care of it.
- Isn’t that for rich, old people?
- I only have a house, not much to worry about really.
- Getting a will is too expensive, and time consuming.
- I’ll be dead anyway, so it’s not a problem.
- If I talk about it too much I’ll jinx myself.
The response to all of these furphies is a resounding NO.
Whilst not having a will may mean that ultimately assets eventually find their way to next of kin the pathway is longer, more expensive, and usually means court involvement – overall a much slower, and much more expensive way to achieve the outcome a straightforward will could secure.
Of course, not having a will means that your intentions are irrelevant, and what you wanted to have happen may not occur. When people die without a will (called an Intestacy) the law sets out a formula that applies to distribute assets in different proportions between next of kin. That may mean a house has to be sold, even if the wife is living there, to satisfy the intestacy formula.
The absence of a will may open the door to a contested estate.
A simple will would prevent unintended consequences occurring.
Wills are usually not expensive (usually under $500). Unless the estate is complex there is no need for a testamentary trust or other complications to blow out the costs of a will. In fact, lawyers make much more money when people don’t have a will, as the sorting out of people’s estates without a will significantly increases the time, and expense involved.