Majority Of Americans Don’t Have A Will

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By The Huffington Post

When Prince died at the age of 57, he left behind a vast estate estimated to be worth at least $50 million, but no will to sort any of it out.

Wills are important because they establish beneficiaries, distinguishing who among your survivors gets what — and how much of it — and prevents your state from taking control of your property. Essentially, your will acts as your advocate when divvying up your estate among loved ones.

While Prince’s net worth is pretty unusual, the circumstances of his will are not.Fifty-five percent of American adults don’t have a will prepared, according an April 30 segment of the “Today” show.

That figure likely comes from a 2007 Lawyers.com survey. Similarly, a survey conducted by EZLaw Wills and Estate Planning found that most people claim to be too busy to create a will — or they think estate planning is too complicated and too expensive to handle.

Tim Maurer, a financial advisor and author of Simple Money: A No-Nonsense Guide To Personal Finance, explained on “Today” (see video above) why you need to think about getting a will, or how often you should update yours.

Here are a few of his tips:

Who needs a will? Everyone — even if you don’t feel like you’re rich. “You can clean things up so your family doesn’t have to fight over stuff,” Maurer says.

How can you get a will? Check with your employer for any pre-paid legal services, or use an online option, such as LegalZoom.

Does the “back of a napkin” work? “It might work in the movies,” Maurer says, “but you really do get what you pay for when it comes to estate-planning documents.”

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