There are various reasons why people choose to forgo a will. Many fail to realize that having a will in place is such an essential responsibility, leading them to the conclusion that it isn’t worth the time or effort.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is well-documented evidence to prove that there are numerous downsides of dying “intestate” (without a will) or failing to have an estate plan in place.
Our skilled Killeen probate attorneys are here to grant you the peace of mind you deserve. While it can be intimidating to draft a will, rest assured that our compassionate team at the Law Office of Nancy Perry Eaton, PLLC is here to guide your legal steps and prioritize what is in the best interests of yourself and your family.
Act now to protect your family and loved ones in the long term. Call (254) 221-8588 or contact us online today to discuss your case with an experienced Killeen probate attorney.
Why Americans Forgo Wills & Estate Planning
According to a recent survey, 1 out of 3 Americans doesn't have a will in the event of death or incapacitation. Why take the time to make a will? Many Americans share misguided beliefs about the legal necessity of wills, such as:
- They don’t have enough assets to leave behind. Many Americans, particularly young people, assume they possess inadequate assets to warrant a will. This is not the case. Wills aren’t reserved for wealthy people. A person doesn’t need to own fancy cars or an expensive house to benefit from estate planning.
- They think it’s not worth the money. Legal expenses can indeed deter some from receiving needed aid. While all-encompassing wills may carry a higher price tag, the price of a standard estate plan is well worth it. Investing in determining your final wishes ahead of time often costs less in the long run, as it likely won’t compare to potential tax payments and additional costs that would arise in the event that you die without a will.
- They aren’t sure where or when to start. The process of starting an estate plan can be daunting for many people, and rightfully so. Probate law can be complex and confusing. This is why it's crucial to seek help from an experienced state planning attorney, as they help explain legal procedures, ensure that state and federal laws are followed accordingly, and be your legal resource throughout the process.
A common reason why so many people choose to forgo a will is that they don't think they have enough assets to leave behind. Young people especially see assets as expensive cars and houses or large amounts of money which are things they don't have.
So, why take the time? The fact is everyone has some assets, and everyone, no matter where you are in life, needs to plan ahead. Keep in mind that regardless of how many luxury vehicles or vacation homes you own, your most important asset is you. What would happen if you should become incapacitated? Who would take care of you if you didn't have a spouse or adult children?
A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to choose who will make any decisions concerning medical treatment, such as treatments and facilities as well as doctors. Likewise, a Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney names someone to handle your finances if you’re not able to. That person (“executor”) can pay your bills, file your tax return, run your small business, sell your house, and anything else that is needed.
If you fail to make these decisions made now, the courts will make them for you, meaning that you may or may not approve of what the judge will decide. To get a better idea of estate planning, it may be helpful to consider what you have. Consider reflecting on these 5 questions to determine how you can benefit from having a will in place:
- Do you have a car? You might want to leave it to someone in your family or have it sold and have the proceeds divided among family members. There are also charities that drive patients with debilitating illnesses to treatments when they are unable to get there themselves. Your car would be a welcome donation to that charity.
- Do you have any inheritances in your name? Even if you weren't going to receive them until a certain age or time, they're still an asset. Where would you like them to go? Personal assets don't have to be big-ticket items. Books, items of clothing, and even season tickets for a particular sport or theater may not seem like much, but they can be special to a person who would appreciate them.
- Do you have any items specific to your family? Maybe you have your grandmother’s old cookbook or a piece of furniture your father made. Even if something lacks inherent value to a stranger, this doesn’t mean it isn’t priceless to you or your family. Without a will, such heirlooms or treasures may end up on a table at an estate sale against your wishes.
- Do you have a pet? Wills protect all members of the family, including your pets. Knowing that your “fur babies” will be taken care of if you are suddenly unable to do adds some peace of mind.
- Do you have family and friends who will survive you? A will helps your family avoid all the red tape necessary when it comes to your legal and personal affairs. In that way, it's a gift that allows them to mourn in peace without having to make painful decisions.
Remember that wills are not set in stone. Your situations and possessions will change over time, and your will can reflect those changes. No matter how much or how little time you think you have, it’s best to write a will now and keep it updated to give yourself peace of mind.
Top-Rated Estate Planning Lawyers in Killeen, TX
Building a comprehensive estate plan can be complex and overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Our dedicated probate lawyers at the Law Office of Nancy Perry Eaton, LLC are here to be your legal resource and dependable advocates throughout each step of the process.
Regardless of when you pass away, not having a will in place may leave your family burdened with documents, legal decisions, and other time-consuming duties. Consider taking the appropriate steps to ensure you don’t overwhelm your friends and loved ones with obligations after you’re gone. Take action now to prevent unnecessary stress and make sure that your final wishes are honored.
Many Texans put off estate planning until it’s too late. Don’t wait to prepare yourself and your loved ones for the future. Call (254) 221-8588 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a skilled Killeen estate planning lawyer.