2016 will not relent in claiming high profile celebrities. This week’s death was as tragic as it was needless. Anton Yelchin, aged only 28, an only child, was killed in his Hollywood home’s driveway when his Jeep rolled down a slope and pinned him between a brick wall and the car, possibly due to a known defect in the Jeep. Mr. Yelchin, most prominently known for his starring roles in Odd Thomas and Charlie Bartlett, will be deeply missed by all.
An Estate Unplanned
There is no information currently available about whether or not Mr. Yelchin had a will or an estate plan when he passed, but if he is like the majority of Americans, chances are that he did not even have a simple will. According to a survey by Rocket Lawyer, 51 percent of Americans age 55 to 64 do not have wills. Even worse, 62 percent of those ages 45 to 54 have never drafted a will. The lower the age, the higher the chance that that person does not have a will.
The Importance of a Will
If you die without a will, or intestate as it is called in the legal world, your assets will be distributed by the law of the state you are a resident of. This means that you have no control over who will inherit from you, you have no say over what assets should go to whom and you have no guarantee that your final wishes will be respected. Even worse, people you do not want to inherit from you may end up with all of your assets. If you do not have any family members, chances are that the government will be the one profiting from your death. Failure to have a will can create headaches and problems for those that you leave behind.
No Good Reason Not To Have a Will
The previously mentioned Rocket Lawyer survey inquired as to the reasons why people did not have a will. The responses and breakdown of responses are below:
- 57% said they “just have not gotten around to making one”
- 22% felt that making a will was not urgent
- 17% did not believe they needed a will
- 14% do not have a will because they do not want to think about death
These reasons are unfortunately fairly typical responses that people have when discussing estate planning, all of which have been addressed here on this blog before. But these excuses do not excuse these people from the necessity of having a will or the consequences of what will happen when they pass without one.
Putting off making a will can have disastrous results for those that you leave behind. Despite what most people may believe and no matter how unpleasant it is to consider, death can strike at any time no matter how young, healthy or safe you may be. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to have a basic will in the event that the worst happens. The alternative to not having a will is always worse than having one.
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