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Why should everyone have a will?

Everyone needs a will. Regardless of age, income level or whether someone is married, everyone can benefit from having a will. In this blog post, though, we are going to focus on one specific bracket of the U.S. population: the wealthy.

CNBC recently released the findings from the CNBC Millionaire Survey. In this, 750 millionaires were polled on whether or not they had an estate plan. The results point to the fact that while everyone should plan, not everyone does, including those with substantial assets. 

Of the 750 polled millionaires, 38 percent admitted to not having plans in place. Broken down even more, of those millionaires with less than $5 million, 32 percent did not have estate plans. Either way you look at it, it's alarming to think of the headache that this lack of planning could create. 

Having an estate plan in place gives someone a say over how exactly their assets will be distributed after their passing. Maybe the idea is some beneficiaries will receive more than others will. Or maybe a portion will go to a nonprofit charity that is near and dear to someone's heart. The issue though, is that if there are no formal plans in place, family do not know how to properly follow through with a loved one's wishes. 

A will, though, does so much more than just dictate how assets are distributed. For example, if a person with minor children passes away, a will can name guardians. Or, if let's say someone is incapacitated and unable to make decisions on their own, a will can award powers of attorney to a trusted loved one. 

In looking at why so many people do not have wills, one thought is that all of the changes to federal estate-tax law may be deterring people from even bothering with putting together plans in the first place. If this is in fact true though, those reading this without a will should take comfort in the fact that attorneys are available in Pennsylvania to help sort through tax planning as it related to estate planning.

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