When I was enormously months pregnant with Toby, Alex and I decided to make a will. But the craziest thing happened on the way to do it…
We walked across Manhattan, from our apartment to our lawyer’s office. During my pregnancy, walking had always felt fine — but that day, I kept complaining that I was uncomfortable. When we arrived at the lawyer’s office, I sat down, stood up, walked around, leaned from side to side, but still — uncomfortable. After signing our will, I suddenly had an overwhelming urge to go to Trader Joe’s and stock our fridge. While walking around the aisles, people kept saying, “Wow! You’re ready to pop!” but I smiled and told them I had nine days until my due date.
Reader, I was in labor.
We always laugh about it now — I mean, how did I not know? I was having contractions and nesting like a boss.
Luckily, these days making a will can be much easier all around. Fabric is a new kind of life insurance company created by two young dads who believe that every family deserves a secure future. They’ve also made the process of creating a will simple and user-friendly. It takes minutes on your computer, and it’s completely free.
So, does everyone need a will? What if you don’t own a home? Or have kids? Believe it or not, it’s still important. Here’s why it matters:
1. It lets you (and your family) breathe easier
Right away, having our wishes in order took so much weight off our shoulders. It feels so good knowing that no matter what happens, everything (and everyone) you care about will be taken care of. A will helps those you love experience as little stress as possible during an emotional time.
2. It prevents future conflict
A will lets you decide how you’d like your “estate” — basically, your home, personal possessions and any financial assets — to be divided. Without a will, you die ‘intestate,’ which means your estate will be divided according to state law, not necessarily how you would have chosen. Things may be passed on to people you didn’t intend, or arguments and confusion can erupt over who gets what. (Once your will is made, you can edit it at any time as your life circumstances change.)
3. It names executors you trust
With a will, you can name your executors — the people who will carry out your final wishes and organize everything on your behalf. This can be a big job — they’ll be in charge of closing accounts, canceling credit cards, selling property… and it’s important to know it will be left in the hands of someone you trust.
4. It protects your kids
Perhaps most important, a will spells out who will take care of your children. Otherwise, the decision is placed in the hands of the courts. (And if you don’t have children, you can choose who you’d like to take care of your pets.)
Some of my friends have put off creating a will because they don’t want to think about it. Why plan for something nobody wants to acknowledge? But a will is honestly one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. If you haven’t yet and you’d like to, take a few minutes to make a plan for your family’s future. I promise it will feel great once you do! Get started here, if you’d like.
Update: Fabric provides a great basic will that covers all the bases. (But if you have complicated circumstances, it’s always good to consult with a lawyer.)