Do you have a will? If not, it may just be time to reach out to a business attorney and start putting one together. This is a necessary piece of legal information to cushion your family, home and belongings should the worst come to pass. Despite the importance of a will, many Americans find themselves going on without. This is due to many common misconceptions surrounding the structure and creation of a will. Although you should always have a business attorney on your side when crafting your own, the article below will clear up any misinformation.
Let’s start with the most prudent information first. Over half of the American population between the ages of 55 and 65 don’t have a will to their name. When it comes to the general public? That’s as much as 65% that either doesn’t have a will or haven’t had theirs completed. Your will is a legally binding document that will benefit your family and closest friends when you pass, allocating everything to your name where it needs to go. Why don’t more people reach out to create a will these days?
A very common and damaging misconception concerning wills is that they’re unnecessary. Another is that they’re too difficult to make, causing many to put off reaching out for help (if they don’t put it off indefinitely). The percentage of seniors with living wills (also called ‘advance directives’) increased from 48% to over 70% between 2000 and 2010. Even then, that is still a significant portion that don’t have the power of a binding document. If you’re under the age of 40 and still don’t have a will? Now has never been a better time to get started.
No single will looks identical to the other. This is due to everyone having different assets and budgets to take into consideration when they pass. Homeowners have a unique set of guidelines to keep in mind. The past five years have seen more than three million borrowers with little to no equity refinancing into cheaper mortgages. A fixed-rate home loan can be anywhere between 10 years and 20, but the most popular choice for many is 30 due to the lower payment rates. A real estate attorney can continue along this track to help you figure out where your home stands amid all of these details.
Crafting a will is also a great way to put your finances in order. Unless your estate is at a current value of $5 million or more (barring married couples and their joint amount), you are exempt from federal state taxes. The seven million mortgage borrowers in the United States with rates of 4% or higher could benefit greatly from refinancing their mortgages. A standard rule-of-thumb concerning monthly mortgage payments is they shouldn’t exceed more than 28% of your monthly income to keep you in the clear.
Those with assets in six figures or higher should have a trust alongside a will. This will both minimize your estate taxes and avoid potential probate. You can even leave bequests (or gifts to other individuals outside of your immediate family upon death) worth up to $5 million. While this can seem like a lot to take in, a business attorney can ensure that no stone is left unturned on your way to a will or trust that benefits everyone in your life. You can ask questions on the fly, work through any local laws you may have overlooked and whittle down your finances until they’re as organized as they can possibly be.
Homemade wills or just consultation, this is one decision you shouldn’t leave blowing in the wind. Meet with a business attorney next time you have a spare day and give you and your family some peace-of-mind.