Reason 1: With a will, you decide
Dying without a will means the decisions are made without you. You have no voice in who raises your children or what happens to your money, property or pets.
Having a legal will gives you a powerful voice, almost like you’re there to advocate for yourself. It’s not called “your will” for nothing.
A probate court will supervise the settling of your affairs in a process that follows the law. If you leave a valid will, the law prioritizes your wishes.
Crucially, the court approves an executor who gathers your property, pays and taxes, settles disputes, and distributes your assets.
You can probably think of people you wouldn’t want as your executor. If you leave a will, you’ll probably get the executor you want.
Reason 2: With a will, you may be worth more
Making a will is a chance to understand and perhaps affect your wealth, including how much will go to estate taxes instead of friends and family.
A common attitude is that estate taxes are paid by people left behind and are not your problem. But you may want to understand the differences you could make before deciding not to make them.
Big differences in the total amount you can leave sometimes result from exactly where you leave it.
For example, leaving assets to a spouse versus someone else, or using assets for someone’s tuition or medical bills or gifting property correctly sometimes increases the total.
For many, making a will becomes a way to think clearly about what kind of impact your life can and should make in the lives of others.
Reason 3: Life is unpredictable, so take control
You may know of some accounts still on social media even though their owners are dead or unable to make their own decisions.
Will you be in the same boat someday? What will you leave behind for others to look at, clean up, pay off, or fight over?
Learning to make a will and keep it updated is an effective way to commit to making affirmative differences and decisions for an otherwise uncertain future.