The Importance of Writing a Will (and the Consequences of Not Doing So)
Most people already understand what a will is: a written document that provides instructions on how a person's wealth or property should be distributed after that person's death.
However, only few people write their own wills before they die, and this usually causes serious problems to their families.
According to more-than-countable statistical findings, this practice of not writing wills or not updating them is common worldwide. Virtually all surveys conducted all over the world have revealed the same fact: far more than 50% of those who should have written their wills haven't written them—or don't ever get to write them.
If you're among the majority who already have some wealth but haven't written a will, then this post is for you. Read on to understand the reasons why you need to write your will now, as well as the consequences of not doing that.
7 reasons why writing your will is highly importantAlthough we all wish to live for as long as possible, we have to accept that death is part of life, and that it can come at any time.
So, considering that death usually comes when it's least expected, you need to prepare for it by crafting a detailed will to express your preferences for what happens to your body, your family, your wealth, and other important things after you're gone.
If you've not given writing your will a thought, you need to start taking it seriously, and here are seven strong reasons why.
1. You can decide how your wealth will be distributedWriting a will means putting words in black-and-white regarding how you want your wealth to be distributed, so you can rest assured that your wish will be rightly implemented when the time's right.
By stating exactly what should be given to whom, you'll not only prevent possible disputes among family members, but you’ll also protect their future by providing them with long-term financial security.
2. You can appoint a manager or administrator for your property or businessOver the years, you've studied your family members. You know the strengths and weaknesses of each of them. And you know the roles that each of them can play excellently.
Based on that familiarity and knowledge, you can decide who you want to manage your property or carry on with your business after you're gone. By clearly stating this in your will, you'll be placing your wealth or business in the hands of those who can really manage and preserve them for generations to come.
3. You can appoint a guardian for your childrenIf you already have children, then you need to secure their future by stating (in your will) who should take care of your children after you pass away.
No one knows your children more than you do, so you're in the best position to decide who should be their guardian. This is because over the years, you’ve figured which family members your children enjoy or prefer being with, and which family members really care about them.
4. You can give back to the societyIf you've nursed an age-long ambition to contribute immensely to your favourite charity organisation, stating that in your will is a good way to actualise your wish after you pass on. And by giving out a fraction of your property to charity, you will be giving back and ensuring that your wealth is contributed to the sustenance of a good cause.
5. You can give a full account of what you haveSince a will usually contains the full details of the writer's wealth, writing your will is the best way to tell or remind your loved ones about everything you have—cash saved up in the bank, businesses, property, other investments, intellectual assets, and everything else.
By detailing everything that makes up your wealth, you'll prevent your assets from being lost or claimed by those who have no rights to them.
6. You can give details of your bills, debts, tax, and other financial obligationsWriting your will is a good way to make your loved ones aware of your pending financial obligations such as recurrent bills, debts and taxes. With all these obligations clearly stated, they will be duly fulfilled after you're gone, and your loved ones willnot be caught unawares.
7. Things will quickly get back to normal after you're goneBy stating who should get what, who should carry on with the management of your business, who should take care of your children, and who should manage your property, you'll be making things much easier for your loved ones after you've passed on.
With your will in place, everything will return back to normal within a short period, since your loved ones will know how your wealth should be distributed and managed, and who should be in charge of your business and other ventures.
With all the above points in mind, you should by now be convinced that writing a will is one of the most important things you can ever do.
Now, let's go even further by looking at some of the things that will most likely happen if you pass on without having written your will.
The consequences of not writing your will
- Since you will not have an executor, the government might have to act as the administrator of your wealth. This will result in unnecessary delay, additional expenses, or loss of some of your assets.
- Your children—if they are minors—will be in care of the government (the "Public Guardian"), and they may end up not living the kind of life you have always wished for them.
- Your children may not receive the amount you would have loved to give each of them. And you will not be able to hold funds in trust for them.So, they may end up in a state of financial insecurity.
- Your property might end up in the wrong hands, and your businesses might eventually fold up due to poor management.
- Some of your assets might get lost forever if your loved ones never knew you had them.
- You will be unable to specify who should share from your wealth and who shouldn't. And the economic fate of your family and loved ones will be decided by the government.
- Your family will be caught unawares by some recurrent bills, taxes, and other financial obligations that used to be binding on you.
Having learned the importance of writing your will and the consequences of not doing that, will you leave the fate of your children and other loved ones to be decided by the state? And will you allow your wealth to be shared in a way that clearly goes against your wish or plan?
The only way to prevent that is to stop procrastinating and start writing your will—right now!s