Why it's Important to Have a WillJuly 30, 2021
by Jon Labaschin, Director of Development
Did you know that August is “National Make a Will Month?" It’s the perfect time to think about the importance of drafting or updating your will to ensure your final wishes are executed as you intended.
Despite the importance of having a will, many people never get around to it, citing they simply do not have time or dislike the idea of preparing for their death. Another common misconception is that unless you are wealthy, you do not need a will—but that’s furthest from the truth.
An individual’s wealth and assets may determine how lengthy or in-depth a will or estate plan may be, but it certainly does not dictate the need. Everyone, regardless of his or her wealth, should have a will to provide peace of mind for the heirs. If there is no will, things have a tendency to quickly get complicated, leading to the state’s involvement, possible family feuds and, ultimately, a delay in settlements.
Thankfully, getting your affairs in order, does not need to be a lengthy or costly project. Here are a few tips to help you get started with ensuring your final wishes are executed correctly:
- Make a list of your assets, including investments, properties, bank accounts and personal property such as art, jewelry and other valuables.
- Review all your beneficiary designations of your life insurance, investment and retirement accounts. For example, you still may have an ex-spouse listed as a beneficiary—if you do not change it, he or she may inherit these funds. If you own an account with a beneficiary and pass away, the funds go directly to the beneficiary, regardless of what any other document, such as a will or trust, may say.
- If you already have a will in place, be sure to review it every couple of years, updating it with any new assets, and making any necessary changes to your wishes.
- At the same time you review your plans, also review the executors that you put in place to execute it, making sure that you still trust the designee and the person is still willing to complete the task.
- If you have not yet made a will or considered your estate plans, now is the time! Connect with a lawyer or use a free or cost-effective online tool.
Lastly, consider whether or not you would like to include North Shore Senior Center in your final plans. When designating a charity as a beneficiary, it does not have to be an all or nothing scenario. You can always decide to leave a percentage of your assets to North Shore Senior Center and designate the balance to one or more other charities.
No matter how you may designate your will, having one is important for you and your family.