August is National Make-A-Will Month, meaning it's the perfect time to take action and make sure your estate is planned and up to date.
According to a 2021 Gallup poll, more than half of American adults have not executed a will. If you are among them, now is the time to get it done.
Not having a will can ultimately create unnecessary expenses and stress for your loved ones. It also means your assets will be distributed according to state laws, probably not reflecting your wishes.
Having a will, on the other hand, allows you to:
Make provisions for the payment of your debts, administration expenses, and taxes.
Provide for specific distributions (certain personal possessions, for example, may have special meaning to particular heirs).
Provide for the individual needs of one or more of your children or other loved ones.
Support your charitable interests and reduce the size of your estate, possibly saving taxes for your loved ones.
Leave the remainder of your estate to your surviving spouse.
It's important not to make a will and then forget it. Review it periodically and revise it if circumstances dictate a different disposition of property. An excellent will drawn 20 years ago may not be appropriate today.
Remember: To die without a will is to do a disservice to your family and loved ones. By contrast, a thoughtfully prepared and carefully drafted will can provide peace of mind for both you and your beneficiaries. What's more, you can memorialize a lasting interest in our organization. A custom will makes it possible for you to arrange your gifts so they can support your charitable interests and reduce taxes.
A will further allows you to name an executor to collect, manage, and distribute your estate's assets according to your wishes. Without a will, the state will appoint an administrator whose actions are severely restricted by law.
A will also permits you to provide income for a surviving spouse beginning at your death and continuing until other income starts to flow by setting up a life-income plan. It also allows you to name a guardian for minor children. Without a will, the state will appoint a guardian who must seek approval from a probate court for nearly every action involving your children's property.
August lasts 31 days. Take a few of them to inventory your assets, meet with an experienced estate attorney, and draft a will that will be an enormous service to your family, loved ones, valued causes, and favored organizations. Although you will incur some costs in time and money, creating a will is, nevertheless, one of the wisest investments you will ever make.