No one likes thinking about their own death, regardless of their age. For younger individuals, it may seem like there is plenty of time to put off those awkward conversations and emotional decisions. Unfortunately, anything can happen and it’s best for adults with assets of any size to be prepared for a tragedy.
Here are some key reasons writing a will is a good idea at any age.
1. Minimizes the risk of infighting
Losing a loved one is heartbreaking, and it’s incredibly stressful when you don’t know what their wishes are. Family members who aren’t given direction can succumb to fighting with one another about funeral plans, burial decisions and dividing property. And if you have children, there’s an added layer of who will take care of those children and have rights to see them.
It can be truly damaging to a family and sever relationships. The more information you give them on what you want, the easier it is for them to focus on processing their grief and being there for one another.
2. You get a say in what happens to your stuff
Intestate succession is how the law determines the best way to divide your assets. It is usually evenly distributed between your “heirs,” and those heirs vary widely depending on if you are single, married, have children, don’t have children, have a partner to whom you’re not married, etc.
And if no relatives can be found, the state gets everything.
3. You can avoid estate taxes
For high-asset individuals, you can minimize the impact of estate taxes on the estate. While there is no Oklahoma estate tax, the federal government will tax an estate worth more than $11.2 million for individuals and $22.4 million for couples.
4. Your family can avoid a lengthy probate process
All estates have to go through the probate process, but having a will speeds it up exponentially. Having the court decide how to divide the estate without your input can cause long, unnecessary delays, regardless of your estate size.
For a relevant example of how this can play out, consider the drama surrounding the late singer Prince’s estate.
Regardless of age, if you want to save your family additional heartache and have any assets that you want a say in distributing, writing a will now is a good start.