If you’re like most people, you’re probably hoping you can put off estate planning until death is nearly knocking at your door. However, life tends to be unpredictable. If you should pass away without a will, state laws will govern who gets your assets and property, which may not align with your wishes. Wills aren’t just for the rich and famous, they’re essential for anyone who has assets and a legacy to protect. Here are three important reasons you likely need a will:
1. You have children
No matter your age, it’s essential to have a will in place if you are a parent. In your will, you can name who you want to be your children’s guardian if something should happen to you and the other parent. Otherwise, the decision will be left up to the court. If you want your children to inherit anything after your death – or get nothing – you can provide specific instructions for this in your will.
2. You are married
If you die without a will, your spouse would likely inherit most of your assets, but it’s not something you want to leave up to chance. If you’re going to leave a portion of your estate to someone other than your spouse, such as a relative, friend or charity, you’ll need to have a will to establish these wishes in writing.
3. You have a positive net worth
Having a positive net worth essentially means you own more than you owe. For example, if you have significant student loan debt and not much money in savings, you likely have a negative net worth. However, it’s a good idea to have a will when you have a positive net worth because you have assets to distribute after you’re gone.
There are countless good reasons to have a will even when you’re young and healthy. If you want to decide who will care for your children and inherit your assets after you’re gone, a will is a must-have.