Fledgling Filers: When Is it Too Soon to Write a Will?

Over half of Americans do not have basic estate documents like a will, trust, or powers of attorney.  Are you one of them?

You may think that you are too young to write a will, but an unforeseen accident can leave your family heartbroken and struggling.

To prevent your assets winding up in probate, it is crucial to start drafting your will asap.

We talk about which life changes impact your will and whether you need to write one now.

Life Events That Impact Your Will

There are certain events in your life that affect your finances and your assets. If you have gone through any of these significant changes you should write or update your will.

  • Getting married
  • Having children
  • Purchasing a home
  • Buying a car, boat, RV, etc.
  • Starting a business

You should update or review your will every five years. This makes sure that your assets wind up where you want them after your death.

Think You Are Too Young?

In South Carolina, you can create a will once you turn eighteen and are no longer a minor. While no one wants to think about dying, it is better to prepare for anything that life brings. Unexpected accidents happen to people of all ages.

Do not be unprepared. Dying without a will means you have no control over who inherits your assets. 

* It’s especially important to have a will if you have children.

Other than the points mentioned above, there are a few more factors that necessitate writing a will.

If You Have an Inheritance or Business Assets

Even if you have your inheritance in a trust, you should include it in your will.

If you have recently started a business within the last few years, include those assets in your will. Be sure to state any business succession plan you may have. Also remember to think about royalties, copyrights, and patents.

You Have Pets

If you have a pet that you want to be well taken care of after you pass, you should include them in your will. Remembering them when writing your will ensures they are cared for if anything happens.

You Have a Family History of Mental Illness

A testator (the person writing the will) must be of sound mind. Certain illnesses may affect your ability to make important life choices. For this reason, it is a good idea to write your will while you are young.

How to Write a Will

Wondering how to write your will? You can do it yourself with a template, but you need two disinterested signatories without anything to gain from your will to sign as well.

You can also speak with a lawyer to discuss your estate plan rather than do it yourself. Getting the assistance of an estate planning attorney might be easier since you can be sure that the document is legally binding.

Make a list of all your assets and beneficiaries beforehand so you do not forget anything. Remember, you can always edit your will. In fact, you should do this every few years or after any major life change.

Write a Will Now to Avoid Problems Later

As long as you are over eighteen, you are never too young to write a will. Writing one now will protect your assets and your family after your death.

No one likes to think about dying, but having a will means you are prepared for the future. It assures your possessions do not go into court and makes sure no one argues over who gets what.

Are you ready to talk about writing your will? Contact us to schedule a consultation today.

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Inscribing the Inheritance: 7 Things You Need to Include in Your Will

Are you afraid of where all your stuff will go when you are gone?

No one wants to think about writing a will, but it is something that you have to come to terms with as you age. It is best to get it out of the way so you can move on and focus on living your best life.

If you do not know what to include in your will, we are here to help. It can get a little overwhelming deciding what to leave to whom when you die, but it is better to make this decision yourself than to leave it to your family to argue over when you are gone.

Here are the seven things you absolutely need to include in your will.

Name an Executor

You should always name an executor to enact the things that you have written out in your will. This person will take the necessary measures to inform your beneficiaries of what you have left to them and see that they get it without any trouble.

It is good practice to name a backup executor, in the event of your primary executor being unable to complete the task for some reason.

Name Beneficiaries to Your Property

Your “property” is anything that falls under personal property, real estate, or cash.

Depending on what your relations and business dealings are, you would typically leave a certain percentage of these things to different family members, friends, business partners, or organizations. These are your beneficiaries.

If you are feeling particularly generous, you can name a charitable organization as one of your beneficiaries as well.

Name Alternate Beneficiaries

Another good thing to do is to name alternate beneficiaries in the event of the death of your primary beneficiary.

For example, you name your friend as one of your beneficiaries. If they die before you, then whoever they have designated as their beneficiary will inherit what you left your friend. To avoid this, you need to name an alternate beneficiary.

Directions on How to Divide Your Assets

Your will should thoroughly describe how your assets are to be divided. If you are leaving property to one of your children, it should note which piece of property they are receiving.

You can also specify whether an asset is to be given to an individual or sold for cash value and provided to one or multiple individuals.

Directions on Business Asset Allocation

If you have any business assets, treat these separately from your personal assets. Business assets might include cash in a business account, stocks that help fund your business, and any property that was purchased for business use.

If you decide not to name a business partner beneficiary to these things, make sure that you clarify very specifically who these things are to go to to avoid any arguments.

Debts, Expenses, Taxes

Describe specifically how your debts and taxes are to be paid, in addition to your funeral expenses. If you intend for these to be paid from a specific source, like a bank account, then write that in the will to avoid any confusion over how these things should be settled.

Name a Guardian In Your Will

Most importantly, if you are a parent to a young child or children, you must name a guardian. Naming a guardian can be tricky if you are in a complicated parental situation, but you still need to nominate someone to take after your young kids in the event of your death.

Ideally, this will be your partner, but could also be a close relative or friend that your child is familiar with.

Do Not Wait Too Long

There is no reason to wait to write your will. The sooner that you get it done, the sooner you can move on with your life. It allows you to protect yourself, your spouse, your kids, and help out your friends and business partners in the event of your death.

If you do not do it, chaos will ensue.

For any legal queries relating to your last will and testament, contact Indigo Family Law, South Carolina’s personal family lawyers.

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