According to Forbes Magazine, approximately half of all Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 do not have a will. The percentage increases for younger demographics. There are many reasons why you might not have a will. Maybe you think it is a morbid subject to think about, or perhaps you just have not yet gotten around to it.

Nevertheless, having a will is beneficial for adults over 18. You can create a will now, and if your circumstances change in the future you can make revisions to it.

When to write a will

If you do not already have a will, the time to write it is now. Some people say that they will not write a will until they need it, but that does not stand up to logical scrutiny. You do not need a will until you die, but at that point, it is too late to write one. Therefore, it is impossible to wait until you need a will to write one.

If you do not have a will when you die, the courts distribute your assets according to the state laws of intestate succession. This is a sort of one-size-fits-all will that distributes your possessions in an established pattern. Your spouse receives only a portion of your estate, while the rest goes to your children, parents or siblings in that order as applicable. In other words, if you do not have children, your parents inherit their portion. If your parents are not alive, that portion of your estate goes to any surviving siblings. Otherwise, it reverts to your spouse.

When to revise a will

While writing a will early is a good idea, a document you create in your 30s may no longer be adequate in your 60s. Fortunately, you can revise your will at any time to reflect changes to your circumstances. You should revise your will following any major life changes, such as the birth or adoption of a child or a change in marital status. It is also a good idea to review it regularly just to ensure it is up to date.