You’re 35 years old, and you run marathons. You’re in great shape. You go biking on the weekends with your friends and spend time at the gym when you can’t run on the roads. You rarely get sick, you watch what you eat and you take your vitamins. You’re proud of the way you’ve taken care of yourself.
As such, you feel like you don’t need a will. You should have at least another 35 or 40 years before your family would have to use it. You’re too young to think about passing on your assets. You’re too healthy to worry about dying from heart disease or some other ailment. You have a long time left on the earth and you don’t worry too much about the end.
Hopefully, you’re right. But the reason you absolutely need a will is that you may not be.
The reality is that accidents and injuries come for anyone. You cannot avoid the risks. You cannot guarantee that you’ll make it to 70 or 80 years old. What if an accident leaves you with fatal injuries tomorrow?
This isn’t to make you live a life of worry. You just need to be aware of the potential issues. You need to understand why people die before their time and why you should have a will even if you think no one is going to need it for decades.
Think about this: Estimates indicate that over 40,000 Americans died in car accidents in 2017 alone. That estimate comes from the National Safety Council, which put it out earlier this year.
Worse yet, things have not been getting better. If the NSC is correct, it means that the amount of deaths in 2017 came in about 6 percent higher than the amount in 2015. It was just 1 percent lower than the total in 2016. As one expert put it: “We’re treading water, essentially. We’re not making progress.”
Out of your control
We love the feeling of control that we have behind the wheel, but we actually have very little. You can only do so much to avoid drunk drivers, distracted drivers, red light runners and out-of-control drivers in a winter storm. Much of it is entirely out of your hands. Of those 40,000, how many passed away without making a single mistake, just because someone else made an error and hit them? You’re only as safe as the most dangerous driver on the road.
As you can see, though you should feel good about the steps you’ve taken to work toward health and a long life, that doesn’t mean you should put off estate planning. Make sure you know how to get started.