According to a 2017 caring.com survey, 78 percent of millennials (ages 18-36) don’t have a will, and many gave a lack of assets as a reason for not beginning the estate planning process. But, no matter the current size of the estate, planning ahead is always a good idea.
A will may seem pointless if there are few assets, or a large amount of student loan or other debt. Some young people overlook the value of assets they have, including retirement or investment accounts and life insurance policies. Also, the size of a person’s estate could unexpectedly increase due to a sudden windfall, such as an inheritance or lottery winnings. If an individual is severely hurt or dies as a result of injuries, a successful personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit could net hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, adding substantial value to an estate. In this scenario, if there is no will and a person is incapacitated or killed, the opportunity to create an estate plan has been lost.
Another consideration is personal property that will need to be disposed of that may have higher sentimental than monetary value. A person may have particular items he or she would like to give to specific individuals. From furniture to baseball cards, a valid will guarantees these wishes are known.
It should be noted that besides creating a plan for distribution of assets, a properly executed will should name an executor who will be responsible for taking care of such things as taking inventory of the estate and paying off remaining debts. Having a named executor can make the probate process shorter and less expensive, making a difficult time a little easier.
If an individual is considering drafting a will, it is wise to consult an experienced trusts and estates attorney who can assist in creating an effective estate plan regardless of the amount of assets.