Most people recognize the importance of having a will. But a study done nationally in 2007 found that over half (57%) of all adult Americans do not have one. Parents with children under age 18 are even less likely to have a will. More than two-thirds (69%) don’t.
Do you fit in that category? If so, what has kept you from getting your will prepared?
For many people, it is a combination of procrastination and denial. We all assume we’ll be here tomorrow, so we prioritize other tasks that seem more pressing.
Another study suggests that other factors also come into play. These include:
- Not wanting to think about dying or becoming incapacitated (10%)
- Not knowing who to consult about an estate plan (9%)
- Believing they do not have enough assets to draft a will (24%)
Without an estate plan, you lose control of making many important decisions. For example, if you die intestate (without a valid will), Texas intestacy laws will determine how your assets are distributed. This statutory formula may conflict with your wishes.
Also, if you don’t designate a guardian for your minor children, a judge may have to make this decision. And the person the judge selects might be someone you would have never considered.
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Regardless of the size of your estate, having a will is the only way you can maintain control of decisions that you are in the best position to make.