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Why College Students Need a Will

By Madison Hess, J.D. on August 25, 2023

Why College Students Need a Will

All young adults should think about end-of-life planning, and each college student needs to think about making a will. Preparing a will benefits you, your fam, and even your friends or other loved ones. You shouldn't wait until you think you're near the end of your life to prepare a will. Death is part of life, and none of us can know for certain when our time to pass on will come. A great rule of thumbs is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

What Does a Will Do?

A will is a legal document that provides instructions for your property after you die. This estate planning document gives you the opportunity to give your assets to specific people. A will is a gift to your family. It is your voice to your loved ones when you can no longer speak to them and helps speed along the court process known as probate. Preparing a will helps you to get organized by taking stock of your debts and your assets. If you have pets that you love, your will can also be used to name someone to take care of them in the event of your death.

How Your Will Can Benefit Those You Love

A will benefits your family by including property designations and by speeding up the probate process. You may believe that making a will can wait until you're older, but the scary truth is that we may not have as much time as we think. It's not fun to think about but young people pass away all the time due to health issues, car accidents, and unintended injuries. Take the opportunity to do right by those you love and make your will.

Include Property Designations

Your will is a statement of your intentions for the things that mean most to you in this world. It will be hard for your family to make decisions about what to do with your prized possessions. Although 18-year-olds don't typically own houses or real estate, you have likely accumulated numerous items of personal property by the time you're a young adult. With you gone, these items will be invaluable to those who love you, and trying to decide what to do with them will be a stressful process that could go on for years.

Creating a will that states who you want to have a legal right to your property is a kind and responsible thing to do for your loved ones. It will bring your family peace of mind to know that they are adhering to your wishes. Decisions about a deceased loved one's property are hard so this can help to comfort your family and friends.

Accelerate Probate Proceedings

After you die, your assets are distributed through a process called probate, and your will acts as a guide for the court. If you don't have a will, the court will distribute your assets under the laws of your state. Probate is generally faster if you die with a will. Court proceedings are the last thing your family will want to deal with when they are in mourning. Anything that you can do to speed this process along is a tremendous gift to those you leave behind.

How Preparing a Will Benefits You

Taking the time to prepare a will is beneficial to you in a number of ways. A will ensures that your intentions for your property are fulfilled. The process of preparing a will is also helpful to your financial planning as it pushes you to get organized. Preparing your will even gives you the opportunity to plan for what will happen to your pets in the event of your death.

Fulfills Your Intentions

Look around at your worldly possessions. Certainly, some of them hold a great deal of sentimental or monetary value. Your will is your chance to say who you want to have these items if you pass away. If you die without a will, these items will be distributed according to state intestacy laws. Your state's laws may not align with your intentions for your possessions.

Helps You Take Stock of Your Debts and Assets

Making a will requires you to think about what you have. As a college student, use this time in your life to clean house and get organized. You've likely had to make a lot of big financial decisions in recent months. You've probably taken out some student loans and perhaps opened a credit card. Your bank account is likely seeing a lot more action now that you aren't living at home. This is an excellent time to get on top of your financial affairs. If you take this opportunity to map out your debts and assets, it will help you as you navigate through your college years and other financial matters.

Allows You to Choose Someone to Care For Your Pets

Your will presents an opportunity for you to name someone to care for your pets in the event of your death. The people in your life are likely not all equally suited to love and care for your pets. If you have a person in mind, someone who your dog is always excited to see, or whose lap your cat always wants to sit on, your will is your chance to name that person as your pet's future caretaker.

Is It Hard to Make a Will?

Making a will at this point in your life likely won't be very time-consuming or difficult. You may choose to consult with an estate planning attorney, but it is possible to prepare a will yourself. If you are interested in preparing your own will, FindLaw has state-specific estate planning forms that you can use to create your will.

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