I came across an article the other day that talked about what age you should take certain milestones in life. One piece of advice was to establish your pension at age 25; get a mortgage at age 30; and obtain life insurance when you are 35. Nothing was said about when you should have a will.
Those all sound reasonable. However, no one ever tells you when you should have a will. I suppose some people may believe that is something you do when you are a grandparent or retired. The truth is you should write a will earlier rather than later. The reason why has to do with knowing the purpose of a will. A will is not just about passing the torch to the title of your property when you die. It serves a much greater purpose.
Here are some milestones in life that should help you see the need to draft a will that has nothing to do with how old you are. If you are unmarried but living with a boyfriend/girlfriend, then a will can help prevent your partner from claiming common law marriage and rights to your property. Have children? Then your will can be used to appoint legal guardians of your children instead of allowing the courts to decide who will raise your children. Own a home or homes? Then a will can set forth who will inherit your home. Under Texas law, homes that are considered separate property and homes that are considered community property are treated differently and may go to people you did not intend to have it. With a will, you can decide who should receive your house or houses.
Life changing events should prompt you to draft a will. But everyday events should also cause you to consider whether you need a will.
As I drove home from my office yesterday, a large sign above the interstate displayed a staggering fact. Over 3,000 people have been killed in car accidents in Texas this year. After reading the sign, I started researching the numbers. Someone dies in a Texas car accident approximately every 2 ½ hours. It is not “old” people who are the majority of the victims. An overwhelming majority of the people who died in Texas car accidents were under the age of 50.
You may also have a dangerous job that prompts you to draft a will. Texas had more deaths on the job than any other state for nearly a decade. A Texas worker dies at his or her workplace every single day.
When deciding you need a will, don’t base it on your age. You should look at the events in your life and what purposes a will can serve for you and your family. When you are ready for a will, contact an experienced estate planning attorney.
For a free consultation, contact the Law Office of Hugh Spires, Jr. at 210-874-5700 or hspires@TexasWillsLawyer.com.