I don’t have a will. When I tell people that one of two things typically happen. They either a) look at me with the “you should know better” eyes or say B) “well I don’t have one either”. Wills can be confusing but I took the confusion out of my life a few years ago when I specifically decided to not have a will. Before you start judging me let me explain why I decided to take the path that I did.
- My debt far outweighs my assets. I’m talking about the debt you see here as well as the debts linked to my business. I am in a HUGE puddle of debt and the money in my bank accounts wouldn’t begin to chip away at it. After my funeral the creditors can fight their share of the $0.25 and lint left in my pockets.
- I don’t have kids or dependents. I don’t have to worry about who gets the kids or if I have to pay for college or anything after I’m gone so why bother?
- I’m not married. This means that there’s no spouse to get anything if I’m not here. Creditors can’t go after anyone else for my debt since I never cosign for anything with anyone or ask anyone to cosign for me. If I’m single and die with my debts, they have to die with me since see #4.
- I don’t have any assets. I have some clothes that I guess you could sell for pennies on the dollar. I plan to be buried in my Calvin Klein dress and that’s the most expensive thing I own so that’s that. I don’t have any furniture, jewelry, or real estate. Oh, I do own a car now since I paid that loan off so if someone wants to take that to pay my debts have fun! It’s more trouble than it’s worth and losing value every single day. My potential beneficiaries don’t want it.
- With all that said, I do have life insurance that more than covers my funeral costs, debts and any taxes that will be due when I die (thought you escaped that when you died didn’t you? Wrong.) Each one has a beneficiary that knows what the money is for. If they want to mess it up, I won’t be here to witness it, so good luck.
- My bank accounts, 401K and bonds all have designated beneficiaries. All they need is a death certificate and they can have a party with my measly money.
Now, just because I am one of the rare people who fall into this category doesn’t mean that it applies to you or that you should slack off. Look above at everything that I have listed. If the opposite of at least 1 of the above applies to you then you will need a will.
If you have kids, especially minor children you will need a will. You might be thinking that if you die your spouse will get the kids. Well, what happens if you both die and the kids live? The state will have the power to decide what happens to your children and you never want that to happen.
If you have any assets including real estate, the state will have the power to decide who gets what. People that you might not want anywhere near your great grandmother’s favorite brooch will have the ability to get things that you might not want them to have. Even worse, if you die with no immediate relatives, the state can keep your money. That thought alone would keep me up at night.
If you have a revocable living trust you might still need a will to cover assets that are not included in the trust. It’s just another way to cover your ass..ets.
I know that the thought of a will is very intimidating but it doesn’t have to be! You might not even need an attorney. Check you local office supply store for pre-written wills that you can fill in and file with the state or for software that will do the same thing. The time to think about a will is not when you’re sick, but when you’re healthy enough to know exactly what you’d like to be done when you’re no longer here.