Money can be fun: buying stuff, being generous with our friends, planning for our glorious future.
And, sure, it can sometimes be a little less fun: paying down debt, balancing our budget, planning for the unexpected.
So, understandably, a lot of people focus on the fun stuff and put off the rest. We’ve spoken to too many people who haven’t created a last will and testament. Here are the top reasons people convince themselves they don’t need a will . . . and what you should really know.
A last will and testament describes your wishes if you were to pass away. It can cover your property, and even name whom you’d like to take care of your kids if you were no longer around. Even if you're young now, you could still benefit; millennials need wills, too.
But hey, if you’re immortal, then you’re right. You probably don’t need a will, if you’ll live forever. And because you’ll outlive your kids (unless they’re immortal, too!), you don’t need to worry about who to appoint as their legal guardian.
The median time for Fabric customers to fill out a will is seven minutes, and 75 percent finished within 10 minutes. After that, Fabric sends instructions on how to make the will legally binding. That, too, is something you can do in minutes.
For the most part, this involves printing out your document, signing it and getting two people to witness it. The whole thing can be as simple as printing it at work and getting two coworkers to watch you sign.
Lawyers are great. In fact, we recommend speaking to one if you have any specific questions about your personal situation. Sure enough, there are many cases when it makes sense to consult an attorney—especially if you’re planning to pass down a lot of assets, or if you have a complicated estate!
That said, lots of people ask us how to make a will for free, which is why we created Fabric wills. Creating a will online can be a good place to start outlining your wishes. It may save you time at the attorney’s office because it encourages you to think through the answers to key questions like who you’d like as your beneficiaries, legal guardians and executors in advance.
And of course, you can always show your DIY will to your lawyer down the road. At that point, he or she can further customize it to meet your individual needs. Here's more on whether you need a lawyer to write your will.
A will can dictate your wishes for passing down anything you own—and this doesn’t just mean big-money investment accounts or real estate. Even if you just have a checking account or a collection of baseball cards, a will can lay out your wishes for who should inherit those things.
Do you have even $100? Or, like, a weird sentimental lamp shaped like a hula dancer that you want to pass down to your little brother? If so, you could probably benefit from a will.
What’s better than being fought over? For the ultimate in familial affection, a great way to encourage chaos and disagreement among your survivors is to let them fight over your estate.
In all seriousness, though, does, “No, that’s my photo album!” sound like music to your ears? If not, you’ll probably want to create a will.
Many people choose to write a will when they become parents or if they have other dependents. That’s because a will can lay out who should take care of their kids when they’re gone. But a will can also spell out who should inherit your belongings.
That doesn’t need to be your child, either. “Give my high-tech aromatherapy infuser to Aunt Ida!” totally counts.
In most states, you can’t create a legally binding will unless you’re over 18, with some exceptions. So this really is a reason not to get a will . . . for now.
But, hey, you can always set a Google Calendar alert for your 18th birthday. Then give yourself the best gift of all (well, in our opinion): a last will and testament.
You’ll generally need a few pieces of information to create a will:
Your name, address and date of birth
The name of your beneficiary, or the person (or people) you want to inherit your assets or belongings
The name of your legal guardian, or the person you’d want to take care of your children if you weren’t around
The name of the person you’d like to “execute” your will, meaning that he or she would make sure that your instructions are followed
Most people can come up with this information without too many problems, especially if they take a beat to think through what their actual last wishes are. We even made a guide to how beneficiaries work and some tips on choosing a legal guardian.
We totally understand the hesitation to share information via the internet. It’s good for you to be cautious! Before making a will online (really, before sharing any personal information online), we recommend you read through the company’s security and/or privacy policies.
“I don’t want my kids to be spoiled by a loving home! Let the courts decide who should look after them!” said no one ever.
Although most wills typically go through the probate process, clearly stating your wishes is important. Unless the courts have legitimate reason to believe that the guardian you’ve chosen is unfit, your wishes are very likely to be honored.
Writing a will is a key way to help protect your family. It means you can determine who should inherit what, and you can help ensure your children have a loving home. With a Fabric Will, you can even specify what kind of last rites you’d like.
It can feel morbid to discuss these things, but it’s also very important. You don’t want to leave your family in a lurch, and it’s genuinely quick. And easy. And free.
Fabric exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.
This article is meant to provide general information and not to provide any specific legal advice or to serve as the basis for any decisions.
Fabric isn’t a law firm and we aren’t licensed to practice law or to provide any legal advice. If you do need legal advice for your specific situation, you should consult with a licensed attorney and/or tax professional.
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Fabric Instant is an Accidental Death Insurance Policy (Form VL-ADH1 with state variations where applicable) and Fabric Premium is a Term Life Insurance Policy (Form ICC16-VLT, ICC16-VLT19, and CMP 0501 with state variations where applicable). Policies are issued by Vantis Life Insurance Company (Vantis Life), Windsor, CT (all states except NY), and by Vantis Life Insurance Company of New York, Brewster, NY (NY only). Coverage may not be available in all states. Issuance of coverage for Fabric Premium is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Policy obligations are the sole responsibility of Vantis Life.
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