If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a regular series I write on this blog that includes ALL things personal finance – debt management, budgeting, home buying, savings,investment, etc. I am NOT a financial advisor, but I am married to one! These are just things that I have learned over the years as I struggled with my own personal finances and ultimately, became debt free in 2012. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!
It has been a few months since I have done another installment in my Molly’s Money series! I have been getting a TON of emails from readers with testimonials, more questions, and requests to bring it back… so it’s on my list of things to do this year is write more in this series! It won’t necessarily be weekly, but I’m hoping to do a couple Molly’s Money entries a month!
I will be honest, today’s topic isn’t the happiest of topics and it’s not the most cheery to discuss, but it’s oh-so-important. SO important. Writing your last will and testament.
If you’re under the age of 40 or if you’re single or unmarried, you may be wondering: “Why do I need to write a last will and testament? I’m young! I’m single! I don’t have kids!” etc. etc. etc. Well, much like the importance of having life insurance, once you hit adulthood, writing a last will and testament is up there, too.
I will be honest with you guys – I am embarrassed to admit that this is something my husband and I JUST tackled. Like, this month. It’s been on our to-do list since we got MARRIED… and we JUST did our will.
It doesn’t have to be super involved and it doesn’t have to be super detailed, but you need one. You can cross this off your to-do list quickly and easily. My husband and I just did a very basic last will and testament through Legal Zoom. You can get it done through a lawyer or something like that, but that’s going to be a little more involved. Right now we just needed a very basic will outlining our wishes and distribution of assets in case, God forbid, something were to happen to one of us or both of us. It took all of about 15 to 20 minutes to fill out the form and answer the questions through Legal Zoom and was less than $80 per person to do one.
Enough rambling, here are three reasons, no matter what stage of adulthood you’re in, why you need to write a last will and testament:
1. To make a difficult time a little less difficult
Yeah, this is the part you can’t avoid… you’re writing your last will and testament because, well, one day you will die. Statistics show that 100% of people die at some point in time in their lives (haha!)… and you’ll be leaving behind your assets, your stuff, and your loved ones will be the ones to deal with it.
This is a tough time… a REALLY tough time for your friends and family. You don’t want to have to make the tough time that much tougher if they have no idea how you want your assets distributed. Have kids? Who do you want to watch your kids in case of your death? Got money? What do you want done with that money after you die? House? Car? Pets? Yes, your loved ones will have to figure out what you want done with your pets if you were to pass on before them…
A last will and testament outlines all these things – you can get as detailed (or not) as you want.
2. You’re protecting yourself and your loved ones
This is especially important if you are married, have children, a business, or have a lot of personal assets… you are protecting those things and making sure your wishes are met after your passing.
Things like funeral, burial wishes vs. cremation, final resting place, distribution of assets (this can even include personal stuff like photos, videos, documents, etc.) who gets your business (if you own one), etc. can all be outlined so your loved ones (or the state) don’t have to decide for you.
Again, not the most fun thing to think about or talk about, but so, so important.
You do NOT want to leave it up to the courts to decide what does where and who gets what. And this also helps to avoid unnecessarily high estate taxes and all that mumbo jumbo (another topic for another day).
3. If you have children, making sure they are taken care of
I outlined this as a separate one (even though it could fit under both one and two) because, well, if you have kids, this is so important.
If again, God forbid, something were to happen to you and your children were to be left without you, who would you want to raise them? Who would you want to care for and nurture them?
This way you’re able to ensure that your children will be in the hands of the people you want them to be in.
I know that this is not a fun topic to think about, but the truth is, you NEVER know when something could happen. Life is a blessing and not a guarantee. Being prepared for anything just makes sure that those you love most in this world are also taken care of.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of just ripping the bandaid off, so to speak, and getting this done and crossed off your list. SEVEN out of TEN Americans never get this important document done… that’s CRAZY to me!
Again, you can do yours cheap and easy and quickly through Legal Zoom, but I know there are definitely other ways to get it done and I’m sure other websites, Legal Zoom was just the one we chose and had the easiest experience with.