The Basics of Establishing a Will

Did you know that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, one of the most understudied aspects had to do with a lack of appropriate estate planning? The median age of the individuals killed in the World Trade Center attacks was 39. This is an age group that is already less likely to have wills when compared with older Americans.

More than two-thirds of the victims in that attack were men and many of them did not have wills. This set up court battles that continued for many years beyond the tragedy itself. In general, people tend to procrastinate and put off dealing with these decisions.

Planning other opportunities like a vacation can also be a lot more fun and positive to think about than planning for the possibility of becoming incapacitated or passing away. There is no defined age for death and incompetence, but many people put off the estate planning process until they are much older. There are even some individuals in their 70s and 80s who have not yet put together a will or an estate plan in general. There are three primary options for legal documents when you pass away:

  •      Taking no action,
  •      Drawing up a will, or
  •      Getting a trust

Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney may be the best way to determine to what is most appropriate for you. Dying without a will can lead to numerous unnecessary complications, particularly if you have children from a previous marriage. Consulting with an estate planning attorney now allows you to audit your current estate planning documents and determine what is most appropriate for you.