Heads up — Next month is National Make-A-Will month!
Do you still need to make your will? Whether you’ve been too busy or simply don’t know how, here are three great reasons that will motivate you to get ready to write your will this August.
1. It’s an important legal document that everyone should have
All adults should have a will — it’s a powerful document that lets you distribute your property and protect your loved ones after you pass away. Without a will, the state will determine how your estate is distributed. That’s why one-third of all American adults already have a will, and that number is growing every day.
2. It provides peace of mind to you and your family
Wills aren’t just for the rich and famous. They make life (and death) easier for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Consider your belongings. You may not think you own a lot, but you likely have more property than you realize: your home, vehicles, furniture, clothing, books, sentimental items, and more. If you don’t have a will, your loved ones will be tasked with finding a home for this property when you pass on. Creating a will prevents family conflict, eliminates confusion, and ensures your assets go to the people you most want to have them. It also gives your family guidance and reassurance that they can fulfill your wishes during what is likely a very difficult time for them.
With a will, you can also plan ahead for those who are in your care — for example, you can name a legal guardian for your minor children or designate who should care for your pets.
The logistical benefits of having a will are important. But above all else, having a will creates peace of mind for you and the people you love.
3. It lets you create a legacy that lasts beyond your lifetime
None of us live forever. But there are ways to continue making a positive impact on this world long after you leave it. One of these ways is by donating to a charity in your will.
There are many different ways you can use your will to benefit a charity — you can give cash, stock, real estate property, and more. Leaving a gift for a nonprofit in your will costs you nothing during your lifetime, but will ensure that you can make a positive impact on causes close to your heart for years to come.
Already made your will?
That’s a fantastic first step. Now that you have a will, it’s important to keep it updated. Estate attorneys recommend reviewing your will every three to five years, or whenever you have a big life event (like getting married, moving states, or having a grandchild).
This month, consider taking 15 minutes to look over your will and make sure it’s up to date with your current preferences. Your life and relationships change over time — it’s important that your will reflects those changes, too.
You may also consider taking a few extra minutes to make sure you’ve named beneficiaries of your non-probate assets, like your life insurance policies or retirement accounts. You can name a charity as a beneficiary of these assets as another great way to leave a lasting impact.
What about your pets?
While we think of them as family members, pets are considered “property” in law. A will provision can be delayed by the probate process, leaving them in limbo for quite some time. Instead, consider a pet trust or HSN’s Forever Plan for Your Pets.
It’s easy and free to make a will during Make-A-Will Month
If you are not sure where to start, HSN offers a free widget to help you draft your will. You can either use it to finalize your plans or prepare a document for your attorney to review. Click here to begin!
Senior Philanthropy Officer
Humane Society Naples
Kim Hanson is HSN’s Senior Philanthropy Officer. With more than 40 years in the nonprofit development field, Kim posts a monthly blog on our HSN website about ways of saving the precious lives entrusted to us through a variety of charitable giving vehicles.