Why Young And Single People Should Consider A Will - petsitterbank

Why Young And Single People Should Consider A Will

By Renee Fry, Founder and CEO, at Gentreo

You’re young, single and ready to make your mark on the world. Your career, love life and spending free time with friends are your top priorities. You don’t have a will, but why would you? Wills are for your parents, right? Wrong.

Do you have a bank account? What about investments or digital assets? How about a pet? Are you a parent? Do you own your home? Do you own a business? Are you on social media? If you said yes to even one of these questions, a will is essential.

A will (sometimes called a Last Will and Testament) is the answer to all of these questions. This legal document is your opportunity to choose who will inherit your assets and name a guardian for children and pets in the event you pass away. A will ensure your wishes are honored in the event you are not there to express them.

What Happens If I Die Without A Will?

Dying without a will (known as dying intestate) requires state authorities to assume control of your assets and dependents, then distribute them in accordance with your state’s laws of intestate succession.

Suppose you own a home that you share with a partner. Without a will in place, your partner has no legal right to even continue residing in the property, let alone legal ownership of it. With no will in place, a local probate court will decide who receives your home in accordance with your state’s intestacy laws and succession statutes. Without a will, any preferences or choices you’ve expressed will not factor into these decisions.

Although intestacy laws and succession statutes may vary slightly from state to state, spoiler alert: Your partner does not appear in this line of succession.

If you have a minor child or pet and have not designated a guardian in a will, the state will appoint one. This person may or may not be someone you would choose or trust to care for your child or pet. But without a will, you have no say in the matter.

Dying without a will often results in legal challenges, pitting your partner, family members, and friends against each other. It can be costly in more ways than one.

Why You (Young And Single) Need A Will

Most young, single people don’t think they need a will until they are married or have kids. According to a survey by Caring.com, 78% of millennial respondents do not have a will. Generation-X (those 37 to 52) isn’t much better—64% of respondents are without a will.

Being single without a will can actually present a more complicated set of issues than a married couple. Here are some examples of why a will isn’t just for older, married people.

Property/Homeowner: Somebody is going to receive your home, and you have every opportunity to decide who that will be. Don’t risk leaving it to chance.

Digital Assets: These include access to cryptocurrency (eg, Bitcoin
BTC
, NFTs); digital files on your smartphone, computer or cloud accounts; social media accounts, websites or domain names; and more. If digital assets are not addressed in your will, they may be lost forever.

Minor Child: Choose someone you trust to assume guardianship and care for your child.

Pets: Despite how far we’ve come, pets are still considered property. You can bequeath your pet to a loved one or someone you trust to care for it. You can also set up a Pet Trust or Pet Power of Attorney to ensure their care.

Financial Accounts: A will is your opportunity to ensure your financial accounts are transferred to the intended recipient(s) if you don’t have transfer on death designations on investment and financial accounts or a co-account holder listed.

Hairlooms: You may have been handed down a family heirloom that you want to pass on to someone special. If it’s not listed in the will, it may not end up with the intended recipient.

Business Owner: A will can transfer ownership of your business to the person of your choice.

Name An Executor: The executor of your will is the person who oversees your estate, is responsible for paying off debts, and ensures your assets are distributed in accordance with the instructions you provided.

You May Need More Than A Will

A will can be just the first step in creating a comprehensive estate plan that protects you and your wishes in the event the unexpected happens.

Power of Attorney: This allows you to name someone to manage your finances.

Health Care Proxy: This allows you to appoint a person to act on your behalf to carry out your health care choices in the event you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to.

Living Will: This is also known as an advance directive. A living will work in tandem with a Health Care Proxy in most states and specifically pertains to life-sustaining treatment.

Pet Power of Attorney: This allows you to name the person you choose to take custody of your pet and make decisions about its care.

Revocable Living Trust: This holds your home, money or other assets for another person who will inherit upon your death. Unlike a Will, a Trust usually avoids the probate process.

Pet Trust: This allows you to set aside funds for the care of your pet and direct how those funds are to be used.

As your life changes, so should your will and estate planning documents. If you have a child, get married, move to a new state or acquire new assets, you need to update your estate plan accordingly. It’s a good idea to review your estate plan once a year.

The sooner you create your will and estate plan, the better. Don’t let a life-changing event happen without having these crucial legal documents at the ready.

The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.


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