The importance of having a will

In a 2011 poll, nearly 60 percent of Americans admitted that they had no will. While many New Jersey residents may think they're too young to start worrying about the future of their assets, having a will is important for adults of all ages.

In most cases where there is no will, the state will distribute 50 percent of the assets to the deceased's surviving spouse, and the other half will be evenly distributed among the decedent's children. However, someone with a will has the power to decide who gets what.

Another good reason to have a will in place is the fact no one knows when they might abruptly die. While it is a fact that a large number of Americans experience a long life, quite a few young people unexpectedly die. In fact, compared to 28 developed nations, the U.S. has the highest mortality rate for people who are between the ages of 10 and 24. According to a study by the University of Melbourne, this is mostly due to vehicular crashes. Further, according to The National Center for Health Statistics, of the 2.5 million fatalities in 2011, more than 90,000 of the deaths represented individuals aged 20 to 39.

Having a will in place will also help ensure that someone will take care of the deceased's underage children. A will allows a person to specify a guardian to do the job.

With proper estate planning, people can provide for and protect their loved ones. An attorney could help to ensure that a will is written according to the state laws and could explain the importance of a formal living will.

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