According to the legal resource center LexisNexis1, approximately 55% of all American adults do not have a will or other estate plan in place. And the percentage is higher if you’re black, Hispanic, or a woman2.
Of course, death can be a difficult topic to face, but without a will, you are leaving decisions about your property, your medical care, and your final arrangements up to others. Their choices on your behalf may not reflect your values, and in some cases, may take a long time to sort out in probate court.
Consider a last will and testament to spell out how your assets should be distributed and used following your death, and create a living will to make your medical wishes clear.
These documents are not just for the wealthy — they are for anyone who wants their final wishes to be followed. There are affordable online options for creating these documents. Of course, if your situation is complicated, it is worthwhile to seek expert help from a lawyer. Whatever the size of your estate, a will can make a difficult time easier for your family and heirs.
The information on this page is provided for educational purposes only and is not tax, legal, financial planning or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed in this section constitutes an offer to buy or sell any securities or advisory products. The information provided is general and is not information reasonably sufficient upon which to base an investment decision and should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security. You should not regard this information as a substitute for the exercise of your own judgment. Investing involves risk.