There are many reasons that someone might put off writing their will, whether because of common myths they have heard or because it marks a time in their life they don’t wish to think about. However, a will is more than just a piece of paper; it is a legal document of your wishes and desires for your assets and family when you are gone. It can bring peace and order in the next step of their lives and give you the opportunity to ensure your estate is distributed in a way you approve of.
The idea of a will can be overwhelming, but these common myths no longer have to be a worry in your mind.
Myth One: I Don’t Own a Lot, I Don’t Need a Will
Wills are not only for the rich and famous, and they are not only for passing down assets. While assigning your assets is a significant part of a will, that is not the only important thing a will can outline. It allows you to choose guardians for your children, write your funeral wishes, and pick who administers your estate and takes care of your pets. A will is more than just distributing your assets; it can be a plan for those around you.
Myth Two: Everything Will Just Pass Down to My Spouse
Your spouse is entitled to joint accounts, possessions, and the estate when there are no children involved. If there are children, your spouse will only get the first $20,000, and the rest will be distributed. However, without a clear outline from a will, family and friends can dispute the process, which can become longer and more expensive for everyone involved. A will can ensure your estate gets handed to the proper people without an issue.
Myth Three: My Family Already Knows My Wishes, a Will is Unnecessary
While your family might know what you want, this does not ensure it will happen without a will. If you don’t have a will, your estate will go through the court, and they will decide how to distribute the items. Missouri’s intestacy laws will pass them to your spouse and children or your parents, siblings, and other family members if necessary. Ultimately, the court will not know or abide by your wishes if they are not properly outlined.
Myth Four: A Will is Expensive And Time-Consuming
The process of writing a will has become much quicker, easier, and less expensive. There is no need for long strenuous meetings. In Missouri, only a lawyer can write a will you can be sure is legal in the state. Finding an estate planning lawyer who can walk you through the process and ensure that all your wishes are well-defined is beneficial. A will is best when revisited every year or a few years to keep up with any life changes regarding beneficiaries or more significant wealth changes. The help from a lawyer those few times during your life can make the process quick and less expensive in the long run.
Myth Five: I Can’t Make One Yet, My Assets Keep Changing
A will should be created regardless of your changing assets. Ideally, a will is written before it is truly necessary, and if that is the case, your life has a lot of room for inevitable changes. A will covers your estate as a whole, meaning all the assets you held when the will became in use. You don’t have to list every bank account or asset within your will, so you do not need to rush to edit your will when something changes. If there are significant life changes, such as beneficiary adjustments, it is recommended that you go back and edit, but just because your assets continue to change does not mean you can’t write a will yet.
There can be many reasons to hold off writing a will, but they are an extension of us and our wishes and can be vital. If you have further questions or are looking for an estate lawyer to assist in your will, contact the team at Hartmann Law Office.