Over the past number of years, it has become increasingly clear that today’s workforce is busier than ever, impacting families across the country. From carpool lanes to endless after-school activities to one’s “day job,” no matter how hard they try, many young professionals and parents are feeling overwhelmed. According to a Pew research study on parenting in the United States, approximately 30% of parents say they always feel rushed, while roughly half say that they often feel rushed.
With all this busyness and hurrying, it comes as little wonder that one’s long-term to-do’s often get lost in the shuffle.
One common example: writing a will.
Many of today’s young professionals and parents believe they are far too young to need a will, and sometimes don’t even consider having one drawn up. They tend to fall into the same mental trap as many other men and women all over the country regardless of age—they can put it off; they can take care of it later. Not so says attorney, Tom O’Leary of Hudson & O’Leary, who handles basic estate planning.
“It’s the set of documents that you absolutely have to have, but hope that you never have to use,” says O’Leary.
Young couples need a will for two big reasons, says O’Leary: to take care of both their children and their financial assets.
“A young family needs a will that would also list a guardian in case you and the other parent die,” says O’Leary. “That way your wishes are being taken care of instead of a court settling a fight between your mom and your mother-in-law.”
Although it may be painful to think about naming a guardian for your children, it is an essential step to the process, says O’Leary.
Protecting Your Assets
Taking care of your assets (yes, even if you think you do not have any) is just as important as taking care of one’s children when it comes to creating a will, he says.
“Number one, if you have any real property, like a house – even though you may only put down $10,000 on a $300,000 home – you need a will,” he says.
Maybe you don’t have anything now, O’Leary says, but a will isn’t just for the now – it’s for the future too.
“Let’s say that you buy a house, or you save some money; this is a contingency document, not just a ‘Right now I don’t have anything document,’” says O’Leary.
The Importance of Naming a Beneficiary
Another crucial step in the estate planning process that O’Leary encourages is for all of his clients to name a beneficiary on any accounts or insurance policies that they might have regardless of their size. Why? In the event that you die without naming a beneficiary, your family can not legally access your money, and going through the legal system to obtain access can sometimes cost more than the sum of money involved.
“I can’t tell you how many times you have somebody coming into the office. Their uncle died and he really didn’t have a lot of assets, but he had $3500 in a bank account,” says O’Leary. “I ask the family if they are named on the account, and when the answer is no, I explain that they’re going to spend $3500 in legal fees to get that $3500.”
Although it may not feel important now and you may never even have to use your will or other estate planning documents, O’Leary emphasizes how many headaches you can avoid simply by having the proper documents in place.
“Having that will can cure a lot of what may seem like smaller problems that can become very big problems if you don’t have a will in place,” he says.
“There are so many young couples out there that don’t know some of the basic documents they need and that they can easily acquire,” he says.
With the help of a legal insurance plan from Florida Legal, enrollees will receive access to up to four attorney consultations per year, unlimited phone consultations and advice, as well as valuable estate planning services designed to give you peace of mind about your family’s future.
To learn more about what Florida Legal Insurance can do for you, visit our site at www.floridalegalinsurance.com/individual-plans/. At that site, you can learn more about our organization, review costs, and see and examine policy documents.