August is National Make-a-Will Month

Surprisingly, about 70% of American adults do not have a will. People cite a variety of reasons: “I’m too young to need a will.” “It’s too expensive.” “I don’t have an estate, so I don’t need one.”

Truth is, you undoubtedly have assets worth passing on. Even if it’s just your old car, a small checking and savings account, a tv set, and a few other personal belongings, if you die without a will in place, the state will decide who gets those items.  For a few hundred dollars you can ensure your possessions end up where you would like them—and there are even less expensive do-it-yourself options.

Something simple may have deep sentimental value. Who wants to see a much-loved copy of “Goodnight Moon” sent to Goodwill when your son could share it with his children?

A will also allows you to direct the disposition of more valuable assets in the best way: retirement plans, life insurance payouts, your

home, car, stocks, etc. An attorney can help you figure out the best way to save your heirs from headaches, lengthy settlements, and taxes.

After you take care of loved ones, you have an opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the causes you value. Your church, your alma mater, the animal shelter, or Manatee County Habitat for Humanity—chances are, a bequest in your will would be far bigger than the charitable gifts you made during your lifetime.

Over the last 12 months, Manatee Habitat received more than $150,000 from two estate donors, neither of whom had ever contributed to us before. We would have loved to thank them during their lifetimes. But now that possibility is gone, along with their opportunity to see firsthand the joy such donations can produce.

For information on making a will, contact your local bar association or a chapter of the Association of Charitable Gift Planners. If you have questions about contributing to Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, please contact Emily Lane: (941) 748-9100 ext. 109 or