You may think you’re too young or old to start a will, but this isn’t true. It’s never too late or too early to start a will to protect your assets, and it is one of the most important documents a person can have. This article will review what wills are and when you should have one to help you make more informed decisions on protecting your resources, assets, or property.

What Is a Will?

A will, also known as a will and testament, is the part of an estate plan that allows you to designate how you want your assets to get cared for and distributed upon your passing. Not only is it designed to safeguard your property, but it also protects your family. If you have children, a will can state how you want them cared for and how you want your possessions allotted to any living spouses or heirs. A valid will makes it much harder for others to contest or ignore your wishes.

What Happens if I Don’t Have a Will?

What exactly happens to your assets when you pass will vary depending on state law and is known as dying intestate. Most states will generally designate your immediate family as your beneficiaries, such as a spouse or children. However, this leaves your assets up to contest and can bring about a lot of tension between family members, sometimes causing back-and-forth legal affairs. Most importantly, this process doesn’t guarantee that your assets get distributed the way you want them.

What Does a Will Include?

While every will is a little different depending on your unique circumstances, every basic will should include documents that name an executor, allot assets and “real property,” and outline instructions for final arrangements. Assets are defined as your personal property, including financial assets and possessions, whereas “real property” is the physical land or home you own.

When Should I Have a Will?

If you are over 18, married, have children, or have any important assets you want to handle a particular way, you should have a will. Though the average American will begin to draft their will around the age of 50, you don’t have to be a certain age or have a life-threatening health condition to have a will. If you draft your will long before this age or any medical events, you’re protecting your loved ones and the future of your assets.

Now that you know what wills are and when you should have one, you may want to start drafting one but don’t know where to start. Fortunately, Northern Legal is here to help. We’re a law firm in Amarillo, Texas, and we can put you in contact with one of our wills and trusts attorneys so you can receive legal consult and advice from a professional. We’re here to answer any of your questions and can help take the fear out of writing your will and testament.