When Should You Write Your Will?

When you imagine someone writing their will, do you think about someone old and gray? That’s a common perception, but it can be misleading. While many people choose to write or revise their wills when they are older, young adults can and should have wills, too. If you have loved ones and any assets you’d like to pass on, it’s time to write your will.

After all, accidents happen, even if no one likes to think about the possibility. It’s better to have a will to ensure your family is protected, even if you expect to live another five or six decades. But why does having a will matter if you’re young and healthy?

What Does a Will Accomplish?

Your Last Will and Testament, usually referred to as your will, is a legal document explaining how you want your assets distributed and your children cared for after you pass away. Without a will, your estate is handled through the probate system, which may not account for your final wishes. 

Suppose you’ve purchased a house and want it to go to your fiancé. If you aren’t legally married and their name isn’t on the deed, your partner has little claim on the property. Instead, during probate, it will likely go to your closest living relatives, such as your parents or siblings. 

Similarly, if you have children, your will allows you to appoint a guardian. If you don’t name a guardian and your child is orphaned, there is no way to guarantee they will live with the people you trust to care for them. Instead, there will be a custody hearing to assign them a guardian from among their closes biological or legal relatives.

In other words, passing away young and without a will can leave your loved ones facing complicated probate and custody battles. Having a will removes this burden from them and gives you peace of mind that they will be cared for no matter what.

Who Needs a Will?

In general, every adult should have a will. Even having a simple will in place can simplify matters for your loved ones. However, wills become particularly important for young adults if any of the following are true:

  • They are married. Documenting whether everything should go to your spouse can reduce probate battles between your loved ones.
  • They are unmarried but in long-term relationships. Wills are critical to ensuring your partner receives rights to your estate if you pass.
  • They have children. You can name a guardian for your children so they always have someone looking after them.
  • They have significant assets. A will is crucial if you own property, have retirement accounts, or even have collections you want to pass on to a friend.
  • They have chronic illnesses or work in a dangerous industry. If your health or employment puts your life at risk, you should create an estate plan immediately.

In all of these situations, wills and testaments can significantly affect whether your wishes are carried out after you pass.

What Should You Include in Your Will?

If you start estate planning as a young adult, your will should change over time. The matters that concern you in your 20s and 30s will definitely change as you age. You can always revise your plan later to account for your new priorities. As a young person, your will should include details like:

  • Which people and organizations should inherit your property, such as your parents, partner, children, friends, and preferred charities.
  • Who should act as guardian for your minor children, and who will manage any property you leave to them.
  • Who should be the executor of your will and carry out your last wishes.

Even early in your career, you may also need to include information about retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other crucial details that will make things easier for your loved ones.

Get Help Writing Your First Will in California

If you’re a legal adult, writing your will is worthwhile. You can get started by contacting the experts at The Dayton Law Firm P.C. Our skilled attorneys have been helping people of all ages develop wills and estate plans tailored to their lives and preferences for decades. Learn more about how we can assist you by scheduling your consultation today.