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Is it time for you to start considering a will?

Never underestimate the power of procrastination. Indeed, you needn't look any further than the un-mowed lawn, the incomplete thank-you notes, the unfinished novel and even the lackluster estate planning efforts for evidence of this phenomenon.

While this last point may leave you feeling especially chagrined, you can take some comfort from the fact that you aren't alone. In fact, a recent survey by the website Caring.com found that only 42 percent of U.S. adults have estate planning documents in place and that this number drops to a surprising 36 percent among those with children under 18.

This naturally raises questions as to why so many of us are so reluctant to take the initiative of executing even a simple will. While some of it can undoubtedly be attributed to concerns over time and money, the more likely explanation is that people are simply uncomfortable with the prospect of addressing the possibility of their own demise.

While this is understandable, there are a myriad of advantages that come from executing a will, including:

  • Asset distribution: It ensures that you, rather than the state of California, will dictate how your assets will be divided. Indeed, a will enables you to make specific gifts to specific individuals, and direct how remaining assets are to be distributed.
  • Executor: It permits you to appoint a trusted individual or institution to serve as an executor, meaning the entity tasked with gathering assets, paying debts and taxes owed, and making distributions in accordance with the terms of your will.
  • Guardianship: It allows you to name a guardian for any children under the age of 18, meaning a person you feel you can rely on to provide care for that which is most precious to you.     

We'll continue examining more about the importance of estate planning in future posts, including taking a look at other legal instruments that can prove valuable from a tax planning perspective.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about executing a will or your estate planning options, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional. 

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