Six reasons everyone should have a will

May 28, 2020
Think you don’t need a will? Think again. Here are six reasons everyone should have a will for their own peace of mind and that of their loved ones.

A will usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about caring for your loved ones. But having a will, and keeping it up to date, is one of the most important things you can do for those you love — and it provides peace of mind for you as well.

If you don’t have a will, you’re not alone. A recent study found that nearly half of Americans over age 55 do not have a will. Many people think they don’t need one for a variety of reasons, such as because they’re not wealthy enough or because they don’t have children. Others procrastinate because they’re too busy or they’re uncomfortable thinking about their own mortality.

People at all economic levels and of all demographics benefit from estate planning, which includes a written will. Here are six reasons you should have a will.

  1. It ensures your money and assets will go to the heirs you intended. If you die without a will, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be carried out. Having a will also enables you to disinherit any individual who would otherwise inherit your estate.
  2. If you have minor children, it establishes who you want to be their legal guardian. Without a will, the court will choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian.
  3. It speeds up the probate process. All estates must go through the probate process, with or without a will. But if there is no will to inform the court how you’d like your estate divided, the court will decide how to divide it, which can cause long, unnecessary delays.
  4. It helps to minimize estate taxes. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.
  5. It can be changed if your circumstances change. If your marital status changes, or you'd like to update the names of your beneficiaries, you can formally amend your will at any time.
  6. It allows your legacy to live on. Gifts and donations that reflect your personal values and interests continue your legacy and, to the extent they are excluded from estate tax, may increase the value of your estate for your heirs and beneficiaries.

Get a free legal consultation through the EAP

Getting legal advice when writing a will can protect your family’s well-being, as well as your own. Through the Employee Assistance Program* (EAP), administered by Cigna, you can get a free 30-minute consultation** with a participating attorney, plus a 25 percent discount on select fees for services such as will preparation. To schedule a consultation, call the EAP at 866-640-2772 or log on to Cigna’s website (one-time registration is required; use pcusa for Employee’s Employer ID).

If you have medical coverage through the Board of Pensions, log on to the Call to Health* website to complete the Create or Update Your Will challenge, now through July 26, 2020.

In addition to assistance with legal and financial issues, the EAP can help with emotional and family issues, job and career concerns, and work/life balance. In addition to phone consultations, online resources, and referrals, you can take advantage of free private counseling sessions (in-person or virtual) with a dedicated counselor. Four extra sessions in addition to the usual six are available through September 30, 2020, for a total of 10 free sessions. All EAP services are completely confidential. Your family members and anyone who lives with you can use the EAP, too.

*The EAP and Call to Health are not available to members enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan.

**Consultations related to employment matters are not available.

Source: protective.com (Protective Life Corporation)