Writing your will might seem a bit unnecessary if you are relatively young or don’t have a lot of savings.  But even if you don’t feel you have a lot of assets to leave behind, considering the question “How much money should I have before writing a will?” is probably more valuable than you think.

We believe that everyone should have a will, no matter at what financial level they are. It is a crucial document to both solidify your own wishes and save your heirs and loved ones a lot of time, trouble and expense.

How Much Money Should I Have Before Writing a Will?

There are a number of ways you can “have money” before writing a will, and resources you may not have thought are probably included in your assets.

Here are some questions to help determine how much money you actually have:

  •         Do you have any bank accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts (IRAs or 401ks) or investment accounts?
  •         Do you plan to make more money in your future?
  •         Do you expect an inheritance?
  •         Do you have life insurance?
  •         Do you own property?

All of these items can translate to dollars and cents, and should be included in your consideration of how much money you have before writing a will. They probably add up to more than you think.

Related: Are you ever too young to write a will?

A Will Protects Your Children Regardless Of How Much Money You Have

If you have minor children you should definitely have a will, regardless of how much money you have. If you, or you and your spouse, should die without a will, the courts will determine who will become the guardian of your minor children.

Within a will, you can designate who you would like to take over that role. You can also designate someone to manage their inheritance, no matter how small it may be, until they reach the age of 18.

A will also creates a path for inheritance of your assets, and access to these assets. Without a will, the courts may become involved, which can be a long, tedious and expensive process. Your money and assets could be tied up for months, if not years, leading to your children receiving a delayed inheritance. 

A Will Protects Your Beneficiaries Regardless Of How Much Money You Have

Do you want to leave all of your assets to someone other than your spouse? Or if you aren’t married, to your children in equal shares? What about stepchildren, or children from a previous marriage?

Designating a beneficiary within your will will enable your heirs to benefit from a more favorable tax treatment. If your heirs do not have good credit, they will have to obtain a bond in order to qualify as the administrator for your estate if not named in your will.

With bad credit, they will be unable to obtain a bond, or getting one will be very expensive. Without a will, if you want your heirs to be able to sell your real estate, they would have to convince a judge to give them “power of sale.”

Otherwise, the property will be distributed.

Related: Why you need to write a will now, even if you’re not ‘rich.’

But Wait, What if I’m Not Rich?

Everybody owns something, so while you may not consider yourself rich, even the smallest checking account and car need to go somewhere. Creating a will lets you decide who will receive the items you own and benefit from them.

Your will provides the instructions necessary to take claim to your property after you die without needing to have the courts involved. So if you’re wondering,  “How much money should I have before writing a will?” The answer is, if you own anything at all of value, you should have a will.

And thankfully, you don’t have to be rich to afford creating a will.

A simple will is very reasonable—most likely a few hundred dollars or less, and well worth the peace of mind. Keep in mind that if your estate is complicated and includes numerous assets, the cost for creating a will can run higher, but for the most part, simple wills are affordable and straightforward.

Why not talk to us here at Joshua E. Hummer Law Office about how we can help you create your legal will? There is no charge for a consultation, and we’d love to meet with you to talk about your assets and future!

Related: Think you’re not rich enough to need a will? Think again.

Create Your Will at the Law Office of Joshua E. Hummer

At the Law Office of Joshua E. Hummer, we’ll be glad to talk with you about creating a will and answer any questions, like “How much money should I have before writing a will?” We work with individuals and families throughout Northern Virginia and the Northern Shenandoah Valley as part of our estate planning practice. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.