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When is the best time to create a will?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2022 | Estate Planning

Life can take so many unexpected twists and turns. And as you age, you want to prepare for them. Part of that preparation may involve creating a will, but how do you know it’s the right move for you? That can depend on multiple factors.

How old do I need to be to create a will?

In Pennsylvania, if you are 18 years old and have the mental capacity to understand your actions, you can create a will. There is no right or wrong time to make a will. While it may seem morbid, you don’t always know what the future has in store. And, if you pass unexpectedly, a will can ensure your wishes get fulfilled. If you die without a will in Pennsylvania, you die “intestate.” That means the state controls your assets and can decide who gets them. In most cases, they distribute your assets to your spouse or children, but it doesn’t always play out that way. If you don’t have a spouse or children, that can complicate matters more.

When do I really need to have a will?

While many people argue that having a will is better than not having one, it’s particularly important to have a will when:

  • You’re married: Your spouse will likely get your assets if you die intestate. However, you may not want to leave that up to chance. Also, if you want a loved one who isn’t your spouse to have specific assets, your will can help you clarify and solidify those requests.
  • You have children: Your kids will likely also get your assets if you die intestate. However, there’s often more than asset distribution to consider with children. For example, your will can also dictate who will be your kids’ legal guardian if you die or become incapacitated.
  • You have a positive net worth: Even if you’re childless and single, having a will is crucial when your net worth is high, especially if your assets exceed $100,000. Having a will can provide your loved ones clarity and ease when handling your assets after you pass.

Is there any instance when I don’t need a will?

Most people will need a will at some point. However, you may be in a life stage where you don’t need one. For example, if you are young, single, childless and don’t have any money, making a will may not be necessary for where you’re at. However, the moment you get married, have children, get out of debt or obtain an inheritance, it may be time to create one.

Knowing when you need one is half the battle

Life moves fast. But no matter what stage of life you’re in now, it never hurts to think about and prepare for the future. Creating a will can help you ensure your wishes get fulfilled even after you’re gone.

Knowing what to put in your will and how you want to organize it can be challenging. However, when creating yours, you can receive neutral guidance and support from an experienced professional.