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Willing it

Why you should draw up a will sooner rather than later

It’s not a pleasant subject, but if you haven’t drawn up a will yet, it’s time to get to it. We say this because a recent study from Caring.com found that just 42 percent of American adults have a will. That’s woefully low, especially considering that creating a will is actually quite easy.

The Caring.com survey found that people aren’t avoiding wills because they makes them uncomfortable, they’re avoiding them because they just haven’t given it much thought. Almost 50 percent of respondents said “I just haven’t gotten around to it,” as their main reason for not having a will. That’s understandable. Most people have busy lives, and thinking about what happens after you die typically isn’t high on the to-do list. Yet a will is vital to making sure that your belongings and money are allocated according to your desires. The alternative is that those decisions are left up to the government. If you die without a will, your assets are distributed according to state law, which varies according to where you live. So the sooner you craft a will, the better.

Despite what you might think, you don’t absolutely need a lawyer to make a will. If you’re single or have modest assets, a do-it-yourself program will suffice. However, as The New York Times reports, if you have kids or complex financial holdings, it might do you some good to seek out a lawyer. As always, shop around for the best deal before deciding on one. If you still want to go the DIY route, try LegalZoom, which charges roughly $70 for drawing up a will. Make sure you are confident you’ve filled out the forms correctly. If you aren’t positive, you can always have a lawyer review the will after it’s completed. When your will is finished, keep a copy at your lawyer’s office or in a safe deposit box.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea