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When does a will really become necessary?

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2020 | Estate Planning |

If you are like many young, single and healthy individuals, creating a will may never have even crossed your mind. After all, wills are for the elderly and wealthy, right? Though the latter misconception is false, it is also untrue to assert that anyone over the age of 18 needs a final will and testament, as so many professionals proclaim. While many can make the argument that it is better to have a will than to not, there are certain categories of people who need a will, and some who do not. Money Under 30 explains each of those categories in brief. 

You have a positive net worth  

The purpose of a will is to ensure your assets and property get distributed in accordance with your wishes. If you have a positive net worth — or, more specifically, assets with a value in excess of $100,000 — you should have will. If you pass away unexpectedly and without a will, the state will distribute your assets in accordance with intestate succession laws. Typically, a person’s spouse and children take priority under intestate succession laws, but if you do not have a spouse and kids, matters become more complicated. 

You have a spouse  

If you have a spouse, you should have a will. Though intestate succession laws normally prioritize spouses, you should not leave your estate up to chance. Moreover, if you want persons other than your spouse to inherit some of your property, you will need a will to specify to whom you want to leave what assets. 

You have children  

There are two main reasons you should have a will if you have kids. The first is to ensure your children receive the property you leave them at a time you deem appropriate. Without a will, your children will likely inherit everything after your spouse. Though this may work for some people, many others want to leave specific assets to their children. Many others use a will to ensure surviving children do not fight amongst themselves over the inheritance. 

The second main reason you should create a will if you have children is to appoint an executor and guardian. An executor is responsible for distributing your assets to your children in accordance with your wishes. A guardian is the person who will raise your children should something happen to both you and your spouse. Both persons play a vital role in the upbringing of your children. 

When you do not need a will 

If you are over the age of 18, you may not yet need a will if you are single and broke. “Broke” may mean you have little to no assets and possibly significant debt.