The Pandemic and Leaving a Legacy
Ever since the pandemic started, people across all ages have thought more about their body’s ability to fall fatally ill to chronic conditions like diabetes and diseases like COVID-19. As a result, this has caused many to appreciate how the power of giving affects their communities-and start building a legacy of positive change to leave behind when they are gone. Maybe, like them, you started to spread the word about the causes you cared about. Perhaps you fundraised some money so those affected by your cause got the resources they needed to thrive, petitioned government leaders to learn about your chosen issue, or began using your talents to help propel your cause. Or. . . you possibly considered contributing to a large, 267% increase of those writing wills over this past year, wanting to create a climate of hope that outlasts your passing.
If the confusing legal vocabulary and the seemingly long process of writing a will seemed too overwhelming for you, and therefore, you chose not to work on it during your busy year, don’t worry! To honor the end of National Make a Will Month, this article will help you learn why you should consider writing a will, how wills work, and how your will can help our cause!
Why should I consider starting to work on my will?: Intro
If you were not motivated by this past year’s turbulence to begin working on a will, you are not alone.
According to a study by Caring.Com, despite the COVID-19 pandemic producing a strong need for many to start working on their wills, 1 out of 3 people still do not have a will.
However, these reasons below may change your mind on why it’s crucial to start working on your will as soon as possible.
Why should I work on my will?: Firstly, everyone's doing it-no matter the age.
Both Farewill’s and Caring.Com’s study noted an eye-opening trend that bucked against the common perception that writing wills are for when you get much older-in your senior years. Interestingly, in Farewill’s study, the amount of wills created by people in the Gen Z generation-those who were born from the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s-skyrocketed during the pandemic. It was an over 460% increase from the previous year.
These results match Caring.Com’s study, which stated that those who are between the ages 18-34 had an over 60% increase in the amount of wills they wrote. Because of that, they are surprisingly over the number of 34-55 year old’s who have their own wills. Therefore, if you think that you’re too young to start working on a will-there are no more excuses!
Why work on my will?: Secondly, when it comes to race and class, writing wills is becoming more inclusive.
In addition to more younger people feeling more compelled than ever to write their wills, Caring.Com’s study also shows that more people who are from the middle class, as well as those who are Black and Hispanic, are feeling more empowered to write wills this year than previous years.
For the middle class, the amount swelled almost 20%, and for Blacks and Hispanics, the number of people who had wills grew over 6% and 12% respectively.
So, if you’re not starting your will because you’re scared of being left out-don’t be!
Why work on my will?: Thirdly, due to the pandemic, it's easier than ever to start working on your will.
For many people before and during the pandemic, the process of writing up a will seems old, tedious, and difficult.
In fact, in a Giving USA report, over 70% of those surveyed thought that writing up a will was difficult and not easy.
However, this is not the case. Due to the pandemic generating pressure for more services to be made online, there are more online resources than ever that you can use to easily write a will from the comfort of your own home.
Two popular online ones are absolutely free and have a great reputation for being quite simple to use and having many free services needed to set up a will available. They are Freewill and Do Your Own Will.
There are also great online paid options too that you can use as well.
If you want to learn more about these options, click here.
Why work on my will?: Furthermore, if COVID-19 has proved anything, it's that the future's full of tumult and changes.
Because of that, things like death can happen at any time.
Therefore, it’s better to be safe than sorry and start making a will as soon as possible.
Why work on my will?: Additionally, wills can help you worry less about which loved ones, charities like TSF, and others get what.
This is due to how wills work. As you will soon see below, wills help you answer three questions:
- What is the property that I have that I want to distribute?
- Who will get what parts of my assets and property?
- How will my property be distributed to those I choose?
Therefore, questions like “Who gets my real estate? My social media accounts go to who?” will be answered when you work on your will.
As a result, when writing your will, you’ll stress less about what will happen to your stuff when you’re gone.
Consequently, while it’s scary to get started, it’s worth the time spent. It will make the your life much less stressful in the long run!
Why work on my will?: Moreover, wills can help you decide who gets what responsibility to fulfill once you're gone.
Who takes care of your children? What about your pets, estate, and funeral? How about other important aspects of your life that you want figured out before you pass? If you’re worried about these questions-don’t fret. When working on your will, this and more is decided.
Why work on my will?: Most importantly, creating a will helps organizations like TSF continue their mission as well as help you with developing a legacy of generosity for you to leave behind.
When your will donates your cash, real estate, digital property (i.e. videos and photos), non-probate assets (like your IRA), or personal property (like cars and furniture)-it will ensure that your charity can continue your mission without paying a cent while you’re alive.
What’s a will?
At the surface, wills seem complicated, but they actually aren’t.
A will is, as the Merriam Webster Dictionary says, “a legal declaration of a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property or estate after death”.
What’s in a will?: What can I distribute in the will?
Here are the types of things you can distribute in the will:
- What you will distribute in the will is the estate. The estate is all of the real, tangible and intangible property you own.
- Real property is property that is on or attached to the land that you owned throughout your life. Some examples include your house, a garden, etc.
- Tangible property is property you can touch and use, like furniture, jewelry, vehicles you own, etc.
- Intangible property can’t be touched, but are shown through other means. Some examples include copyrights, stocks, and patents.
- When writing your will, you use bequests to give parts of your estate to whoever you want them to go to.
What’s in a will?: Who can I distribute the will's properties to?
Here are the people that you can distribute the will’s properties to:
- As testator, you write the will. Thus, you choose everyone else’s roles in the will before you pass.
- The executor is who you want to mainly carry out your will’s requests and run your estate.
- Beneficiaries are who you choose to get your private property, digital property, financial assets (like money and stocks), and other things you want them to have through your will. This can include nonprofits, non-blood relatives, blood relatives, your spouse, etc.
- Next of kin are people that you can give your property which are related to you by blood.
- Heirs are people who can inherit your estate with or without a will. This can include your spouse (if you specify it in the will) or a blood relative (next of kin).
What’s in a will?: What are the ways that I can distribute the property in the will?
Interestingly, there are many types of wills that allow different types of property distribution after someone passes.
Here are a few basic legal terms about property distribution that are often found in wills:
- Per capita distribution is when the amount of an estate part being distributed is determined by the total amount of that part divided by how many beneficiaries are mentioned in the will. For instance, if $100,000 is passed down to 20 beneficiaries, then each beneficiary will get $5000.
- Per Stirpes (By Right of Representation) distribution is when each part of your family gets an equal share of the property you’re distributing, no matter how many people are in each part. For example, if $30,000 is passed down to your 3 daughter’s families via your will, and each family has a different number of people, the number of people in each family doesn’t matter. Each family will still get $10,000 each.
- An escheat is when the state government distributes your estate. This happens if you don’t make a will and you don’t have any spouse or kin that you can give your estate to.
What happens when I am done writing the will?
When you are done writing the will, you go to probate court. This is a court specifically meant to help test if the will follows all of the laws related to wills. It also helps with the legalities of how your estate will be distributed and run once you pass.
If before or during probate court, you want to change parts of your will, you can put a codicil, or a will amendment, into the will.
After probate court, your will’s ready to go!
What cause should I donate to for my will?
Did you enjoy this article? Want to help our blog continue to help you learn about all sorts of topics? Yearning to make a positive impact with your newfound knowledge on wills? Donate to the Turner Syndrome Foundation!
This foundation helps every 1 out of 2000 girls and women rise above the various physical, mental, and social challenges that Turner Syndrome brings them.
What is Turner Syndrome?
Turner Syndrome, or TS, is a chromosomal (genetic) condition. It’s caused by a woman or girl’s cells having a missing or partially missing chromosome in their chromosome pairs.
Without the full set of chromosomes, the cells cannot fully fulfill their daily functions in the body.
As a result, this can create a wide variety of obstacles to be overcome. Some include heart disease, anxiety, ADHD, and short stature.
How can I help TSF's cause?
Despite the fact that TS was discovered over 80 years ago in 1938, there hasn’t been as much growth in awareness for the condition and the vast amount of people it affects compared to other genetic conditions.
Thus, it’s hard for women and girls to get the medical treatments as well as the legal and financial protections needed to thrive at school, work, and other places.
However, by choosing to gift at least part of your estate to the TSF, you can change that.
With your estate, you can help spread TS awareness to the general public, doctors, teachers, and government officials.
Alongside TSF, you can advocate for the girls and women’s needs, as well as encourage more research to be done on all of TS’s aspects.
Finally, above all else, you can help create and improve resources like this blog.
That way, you can help the TS community and their supporters create a better world for females with TS!
Takeaway - What you can do now
- There are many reasons to start working on your will as soon as possible. Those who are writing wills are becoming more diverse in terms of class, race, and age. Covid-19 proved that it’s easier and more important than ever to write your will. Most importantly, having a will gives you comfort by fulfilling your wishes and creating an everlasting impact.
- Additionally, there are three main components that make up a will, or legal document that distributes a person’s properties, or estate, after their death. They’re the property being distributed, who the property’s being distributed to, and how it will be distributed.
- Moreover, probate court helps check a will’s legality according to the state’s laws. They also help prepare your estate’s distribution.
- Finally, still don’t know what charity you should donate your estate to? Choose TSF! TSF helps females with the chromosomal condition, Turner Syndrome, thrive in all environments. We do this in many ways. Firstly, we help spread awareness to the public. Secondly, we advocate as well as help create resources for the TS community’s needs. Thirdly, we press for more research done on all aspects of TS.
- If you want to learn more about planned giving can help TSF’s cause, you can check out this link here.
Other Non-Clinical Sources
Acknowledgements: This article was written by Elizabeth Rivera, TSF’s Blog Content Coordinator and reviewed by Susan Herman, TSF’s Lead Editor and a TSF Writer. ©Turner Syndrome Foundation 2021.