Did you know that nearly 67% of American adults don’t have a will? In fact, the proportion of American adults of any age with a will declined in recent years, with 42% of all adults having one in place in 2017, compared with just 33% now. This is particularly surprising given that two-thirds of those polled believe that having a will is “somewhat” or “very” important.
If you don’t have a will yet, here are three great reasons why having a will is important to help motivate you to write your own will this August during National Make-A-Will Month.
1. Everyone needs one.
Wills are not just for the rich and famous. A will is an essential legal document that lets you distribute your property and protect your loved ones after you pass away. There is no such thing as being too young for a will either. If you are over 18, it’s a good idea to have one, especially if you own property, have pets, or have children.
If you have a complex family or financial situation, you should consider hiring an attorney to help you draft your will. But the majority of Americans can write their own will. A do-it-yourself will is just as valid as one prepared by a lawyer and much more affordable.
2. Peace of mind.
Having a will can give you peace of mind that, no matter what happens, you’ve put your affairs in order and protected your loved ones. A will makes life (and death) easier for everyone, regardless of how much money you have.
Even if you think your family understands your wishes, they don’t get to make decisions for you if you die without a will. Instead, a court will make those decisions based on the laws of your state. Creating a will prevents family conflict, eliminates confusion, and ensures your assets go to the people and causes that mean the most to you. A will gives your family guidance and reassurance that they are doing the right thing during a very difficult time for them.
Thinking about death is always uncomfortable, but creating a will is one of the kindest things you can do for those you leave behind.
3. A lasting legacy.
Unfortunately, you can’t live forever. But there are ways to continue making a positive impact in your community long after you leave it. One critical way is to donate to the causes you care about in your will.
Including Literacy Pittsburgh in your will is a meaningful way to create better lives through learning now and in the future. You can create a lasting legacy by:
- Including a specific dollar amount or a percentage of your will as a gift to Literacy Pittsburgh
- Making a contingent gift when funds come to Literacy Pittsburgh only if your other heirs do not survive you
- Naming Literacy Pittsburgh to receive the residue of your estate after all other beneficiaries.
Leaving a gift to Literacy Pittsburgh in your will costs nothing during your lifetime but will ensure you positively impact the cause closest to your heart for years to come.
Already Made Your Will?
Good for you! Having a will is a critical first step, but it is only useful to you and your loved ones if you keep it up to date. Estate attorneys recommend reviewing your will every three to five years, or whenever you experience a major life event – such as getting married or divorced, moving to a different state, or welcoming a new child or grandchild. By updating your will periodically, you can ensure it always reflects your present life situation and most current wishes.
You may also want to make sure you’ve named beneficiaries of any assets that will pass to new owners outside of your will—such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or your donor-advised fund. Naming Literacy Pittsburgh as a beneficiary of all or part of these assets is another great way to leave a lasting impact in your community.
If you’ve already included Literacy Pittsburgh in your will or as a beneficiary of other assets, please let us thank you by completing our gift intention form. Sharing information about your gift helps us understand the goals of your legacy plan and allows us to keep you connected to your impact during your lifetime.
Interested in learning more about including a gift to Literacy Pittsburgh in your will? Contact Tim Richart, Director of Development, at 412-393-7633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite you to celebrate National Make-A-Will Month this August by creating or updating your will today.
Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped some 3.700 individuals acquire the skills needed to reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, digital literacy, English language learning, math, reading, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Pittsburgh Learning Center.