First Things First

Is Creating a Will Important?

Most people live as if tomorrow will come for sure. But what if something tragic happened and you were no longer here? Who would inherit your house, your collectibles that have been handed down from one generation to the next or your pictures?

“Most people assume that if they are married and don’t have a will, all of their assets will automatically go to their spouse,” said attorney Harry Cash. “This is not necessarily the case. If you don’t have a will or all of your assets are not held jointly, the state determines where your assets go. If one spouse dies and there are children, the surviving spouse gets at least one third of the deceased spouse’s assets, but the deceased spouse may have intended for everything to go to his or her spouse at death.”

A survey conducted by found that a stunning 50 percent of Americans with children do not have a will. Of those age 55-64 (the baby boomers) 41 percent do not have a will. When asked why they don’t have a will, the top answers from respondents were: Just haven’t gotten around to making one; no sense of urgency; didn’t think they needed a will; they don’t have a will because they don’t want to think about death.

“This is not something you want to leave to chance and hope for the best,” said Cash. “A will allows you to specifically state what you want to happen to your assets when you pass away. If you have children, you have the opportunity to say who will care for them until they are 18. You also can state specifically that if you pass away and your spouse is still living, all of your assets go to your spouse. Even though people don’t like to think about death, this document could save your loved ones from a lot of angst.”

What you need to create a will:

“The last thing a grieving family member needs is to deal with uncertainty when it comes to dealing with the estate of a deceased family member,” said Cash. “Preparing a will doesn’t take long and could be the single most important thing you do for your family.”



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