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Will You, or Won’t You? When You Don’t Have a Will, You Don’t Have a Say in How Your Assets Are Distributed

Notepad that reads make a will

What do Aretha Franklin, Prince and Kurt Cobain have in common? Other than being extremely famous and wealthy music performers, they all died without a will. In the case of Aretha Franklin, her reported $80 million estate will go through probate, and a probate court—not her—will determine how her assets will be distributed among her heirs. While few of us will be leaving behind as significant an estate as Aretha, many Americans can claim an affinity with these celebrities in that they likely don’t have a will, either. According to a 2017 survey by Caring.com, nearly 60% of Americans have no will, and that percentage is even higher for people who have dependent children. Read on to learn more about the reasons to have a will.

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

When you don’t have a will, you don’t have a say in how your assets are distributed when you pass. State law will decide for you. A will also allows you to name a guardian for your minor children, which is one reason estate planning is so important for parents. Here’s what you can do with a will:

  • If you’re a parent, a will lets you decide who will look after your children when you’re gone.
  • A will is the simplest way to leave assets to your heirs, including personal property like vehicles, bank accounts, family heirlooms, and more.
  • You can transfer real property (such as homes, buildings, and land), but talk to an estate planning attorney because transferring real property through a will can create some issues.

Of the people surveyed by Caring.com, nearly half of the respondents without a will said the reason they didn’t have one was “I just haven’t gotten around to it.” Indeed, for many people without an estate plan, not wanting to think about death is a factor, but an aversion to end-of-life planning is just as likely rooted in procrastination. While we all know we’re not going to live forever, most of us anticipate living for many more decades, so we don’t necessarily think we need a will right now. The fact is we all have an expiration date, and no one knows when it will be—tomorrow or 40 years in the future. The best thing you can do for the people and things you love is have a will now.

Speak with an Experienced Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

If you’re ready to create a will, or you need advice regarding an existing will or estate plan, please contact Canyon River Law in Twin Falls, Idaho. You’ll feel proud and empowered taking this important step to protect your legacy and your family’s future.

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