No one wants to think about her own demise. At the very least, it can be creepy to spend time dwelling on possible causes and details about how you’ll be laid to rest. At its worst, it can be a deeply unsettling thought process. But the fact is, far too few people are adequately prepared in the event of their passing, especially young people. No matter how invincible, healthy, and cautious we feel, there’s no predicting our final moments, and in the event that an unforeseeable tragedy does occur, it’s best to leave your loved ones prepared for and aware of your last wishes.

At 21, we start to ponder every other long-term aspect of adult life: career prospects, home ownership, family planning, and, if we’re particularly conscientious, investments and retirement. By extension, a last will and testament is necessary to ensure your wishes are achieved. Though every state has its own requirements for executing a legal will, you only need to be 18 to write one.

According to Investopedia:

A final will and testament is a necessary document for anyone who wishes to decide what happens to his or her assets after death. While a final will and testament is often not thought about until later in life, it is important for all adults to have a will because of life’s uncertainties. If you wish to have a say in how your assets are distributed amongst your loved ones, a last will and testament is something that you should consider.

You don’t have to have a ton material goods or property to necessitate the writing of a will. While it does ensure that what you do have — car, savings, clothing, furniture — goes to the people you want to have it, it can also lay out your preferred means of being laid to rest. If you’ve ever been party to a post-passing conversation about burial vs. cremation or funeral vs. memorial service, you know how many hours a will could shave off of the planning process.

If you’re a young parent, a will is even more imperative, as you can use it to declare legal guardianship of your children after you’re gone. The writing of a will is the best way to begin considering who you’d trust with your most valued asset when you’re gone, and you can ask those people, face to face, whether they’re up for the challenge before they’re left to decide it in a moment of grief.

If the recent drama surrounding pop icon Michael Jackson’s will has taught us anything, it’s that the protection a legal document provides can put the kibosh on family infighting quicker than a free-for-all division of assets would. Well… this is true in cases when the will is legally valid, anyway.

Do you have a will? Have you ever witnessed firsthand the difference between division of assets with a will in effect and without it?

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  • The Comment

    You girls rock! Wills are a great way to tell your story to your family or friends. Sometimes a person’s last words are more important that the material heritage.

  • Jen

    This is why I read your website. I’m in the process of getting one. It’s scary but better safe than sorry.