Ruth-Ann E. Toups
Your New Year's Resolution: Get a Will
The holidays are behind you. The new year is upon you. Now is the time to consider what you want to accomplish this year. Right after resolving to get in shape, many of us begin to think about our finances. Do we have enough to retire when we want to? Is our insurance coverage enough, or is it too much? What would happen if we died or became disabled? While many of us briefly consider these issues, statistics show that less than half of Americans have a will in place. For those under the age of 36 less than twenty percent have a will, while the average age of first-time mothers is 28. That leaves far too many parents of young children without a plan if they were to die or become disabled. So, this new year, make one of your resolutions to get a will in place.
But I don’t need a will. Everyone needs a will, no matter how old you are, how much money you have, or how healthy you are. Unfortunately, we never know when tragedy might strike. Our mental balance sheet of our assets can be somewhat skewed. When I first sit down with new clients, and we begin to discuss what they own, we usually discover some assets along the way. Maybe they have an employer-sponsored retirement or life insurance benefit or, perhaps, a savings account opened at a local bank. Without a will, we give up our ability to control who gets the assets we leave behind. A will is not just about handling what you may own, but also about handling what you may owe or be owed if you pass away. A good will outlines your beneficiaries and the representative of your estate, commonly called your executor. Your executor handles the distribution of your assets as well as the payment of your debts. Additionally, if you pass away and you are owed money, a representative usually must be appointed to recover those funds. Without a will, the court will assign a representative to your estate. Without a will this process takes longer, is more expensive, and you do not have the ability to choose who gets what you have or who is in charge of your estate.
But I don’t have the time to see an attorney. Many people are surprised to learn just how easy getting your will in place can be. When I started The Toups Law Firm my goal was to help make estate planning accessible for families in all stages of life. Most estate plans can be completed in two meetings that take less than an hour, and the best part is I come to you. Have an hour lunch break? We can meet at or near your office and begin the process. Have a small child at home and can’t bear the thought of taking them to another appointment? I’ll be there to help. Do you or your loved one struggle with mobility issues? I am happy to meet you where you are.
Let’s make 2019 your best year yet by finally crossing “get a will” off your list of new year’s resolutions!