December 6, 2020
If we wanted to get you to stop and think carefully about making your Will it will probably take more than a passing mention that Wills are in fact important estate planning documents. Especially if you don't think you have any pressing reason to believe that a Will is something you'll need anytime soon. After all, when we are young, in good health, in the prime of our lives - it is the most unnatural thing to think that we will die. In fact, one might argue that it is our collective unwillingness to think that our species isn't as mortally fragile as it is that is responsible for a lot of the advancement we see around us. Being that as it is, let me reassure you that confronting your mortality is not a sign that you are weak, but it is often in the preparation for the inevitability of expiration that strength and thoughtfulness is demonstrated. We, at Will and Tomorrow, are perpetually interested in the top reasons people are making Wills sooner than later, here’s what we learnt (in no particular order).
Few things are as life changing as becoming parents. Having the responsibility for human life is among the most sacred duties with which we are entrusted. It follows that understanding the responsibility that comes along with this role shifts priorities for a lot of people, making it urgent for parents, whether of new-borns or older minor children to make sure their plans for their children are documented. In the event that it is needed, a Will allows parents to designate the guardians they desire for their minor children. It is important that both parents have Wills and that there is congruence between their Wills as to who they want to act as guardians. This will make the court’s job a lot easier than if no such designation is in place. Parents also get to “set-up” their children with provisions in their Will for assets, property and other gifts to be reserved for their children, securing their path to a good education and a stable foundation for their future. It is also a good idea to have conversations with those you have selected to be guardians, so they know what your wishes are and they’ll be more likely to accept the task if the occasion arises.
A lot of us work hard to own a home and accomplishing that is a milestone for anyone who has set their aims to it. Home ownership also becomes that defining moment where a lot of people start identifying themselves as having enough to warrant making a Will. While we will continue to underscore that anyone over the age of 18 who has a savings account or anything that is important to them is fit to have a Will, we do understand how for many people, there has been a popularly held misconception about Wills that support this idea that home-ownership signals readiness for Will-making. Our recommendation - don't wait on homeownership, but if you are a home-owner, make a Will now.
This connection is as linear as things get in connecting our minds to our mortality. When we learn that we aren’t as healthy as we once were, and worse if we are faced with life-altering news, or we are given a timeline, these events tend to shift our perspective in an action-oriented way. It isn’t surprising that many people begin the process of figuring out their estate plan at this time. But with the stress of processing the information about one’s health, wouldn’t it be better to sit in your favourite spot and have a think about your Will on a regular Tuesday afternoon instead?
Like the reason before, anything that brings us into contemplation of how unpredictable life is and that we are sometimes dealt really hard blows, can have the unintended consequence of making us want to plan for our own future. This is especially true if the person we’ve lost did not put an estate plan in place and we are seeing up close just how impactful such a decision is on loved ones. Moments of loss are compounded by the absence of Wills or other estate planning documents, so many people wise up to the need for them in the aftermath of loss that they have witnessed up close.
We’ve seen what Covid-19 has done in places hardest hit by the virus. We’ve also seen the effects here, in Jamaica, where a family we know, or maybe our very own family has been impacted. The global pandemic is yet another reason many are making sure that they have documented their wishes via a Will. With Covid-19 being capable of affecting even those who take the best precautionary measures, we are encouraged to add another kind of measure by creating our Wills as soon as possible.
We know that when someone dies without having a valid Will in place, they are considered to have died intestate. Depending on where you die, then that country’s intestacy laws are used to determine how the State should treat with your assets, etc. For those who die with no direct descendants or spouse, one’s estate is subject to the intestacy laws and processes in your country, which may lead to prolonged delays if any eventual disbursement to surviving relatives that are able to make a claim to the authorities for your assets. Outside of this the state may end up with a lot of what you have worked for. The suggestion is simple, it is just as important to make a Will when you do have children as when you don’t. In the instance that you don’t have children or a partner and you want to have a say in what happens to your estate, then a will is a proven way to ensure that this happens.
Being able to give care to one’s parents or other family members as we gain financial means is, for many, a blessing. When care is taken to ensure the wellbeing of our parents while we work and can contribute monthly, it is important that that care is continued even in the event of our passing. A Will allows us to stipulate that parents are cared for with certain assets or gifts.
Now that we've shared these 7 reasons to make a Will, we encourage you to go beyond an intellectual agreement that making a will is essential. In reality, for a lot of us, it is probably going to take a life re-defining moment to cause us to actually go ahead and create a Will. The good thing is that with Will and Tomorrow, it is hassle-free to create your own Will online, and you may use the Prep List below to help you get prepared.
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