Most Texas residents know the importance of a will, yet many people still don’t have one. With changing times, wills are more necessary than they ever were. Not having a will can place families and other loved ones at risk of being cut out of their inheritances or facing unnecessary time and expense to receive them.

New research shows that many people still don’t have a will. Actually, 71 percent of adults younger than 34 are without one, and some 41 percent of baby boomers also are living without a will. Many are operating under the mistaken idea that they either do not have enough assets or they believe the process of creating a will is expensive. Others may simply be suffering from procrastination.

Furthermore, domestic partnerships have increased over the last few years. Ensuring partners are included in wills can stop legal disputes and can clearly define last wishes. This step is critical for those who may be in a same-sex marriage because marriage for these couples is not enforced everywhere. Couples who have children from other relationships should also invest in a will.

Also, don’t forget about Spot. Pets can also be an important aspect of the will process. Many people think of their pets as family members, though 61 percent of Americans do not believe pets should be included in a will. Making an informal agreement to care for a pet with a friend may work, but if the relationship or plans change and the plans for the pet are not in writing, a beloved pet could wind up in a shelter or even put down.

In general, a will can typically cover most anything that happens to be important to the person creating it, at least insofar as assets are concerned. But even Texas residents with few assets can benefit from having a will in place. Doing so can ensure that one’s last wishes are followed.

Source: USA Today, “Times change wills, yet many Americans don’t have one,” Christine Dugas, April 25, 2012