In Case of Accidents, Always Have A Will

What do 60% of Americans have in common with Aretha Franklin? It might seem implausible that the average person could have anything in common with the Queen of Soul. After all, it’s not like the average person writes soulful hits like “Respect,” sings at presidential inaugurations, or earns a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

But after her death at the age of 76, it was revealed that Franklin did have something in common with many other Americans. Like more than half of the United States population, she did not have a will.

A will, sometimes called a Last Will and Testament, is a document that expresses an individual’s final wishes. Wills provide a way for surviving family members to fairly divide assets, debts, properties, investments, or anything else that a person leaves behind at the time of their death. For example, if a mother wants her beach house to go to her daughter, she would note that in her will.

Many wills also name an executor, or a person who will be in charge of carrying out their will. Additionally, people with minor children (or pets!) might leave instructions on who should care for them.

Most people have ideas about how they would want their assets divvied up. And of course, most people want to leave behind a sense of peace and security for their family members. So why do 60% of people not prepare their wills?

One main reason why many Americans don’t have a will is that death simply isn’t  fun to think about. Many people hope they have many years ahead of them, and do not want to think about end-of-life plans. Death is an understandably uncomfortable topic. It can be difficult for people to even think about, let along talk to others about.

The unfortunate reality, though, is that tragedy can strike at any time. People have sudden, unanticipated medical events, like heart attacks or strokes. They get involved in accidents caused by reckless or drunk drivers. They become the victims of mass violence.  Deadly situations can happen to anyone at any time, even when it’s not “their time.”

Other times, people do not write a will because they do not have many valuable assets. For others, it’s because they have verbally expressed their wishes. In both these cases, a will can still be helpful. Even if there are only a few assets, a will still makes sure they go to the right person or place. It also lets beneficiaries know what is important, versus what can be sold or donated. And for people who have verbally expressed their final wishes, a will just backs that up, and ensures that there won’t be disputes over anything. If you really care about something, write it down in your will. That will prevent anyone from trying to twist words or simply misinterpret them.

Whether you have many specific wishes or just a few assets, writing a will is still an important step. It is especially important for people who are older or battling a serious illness, but can provide peace of mind for people at every step of their journey through life. As personal injuries attorney, we don’t deal with wills of estate planning. However, we have firsthand knowledge of how suddenly an accident can impact someone’s life, and we know how important clarity and organization can be to grieving families. So if you haven’t yet, there is no time like the present. Get your affairs in order, have those important discussions, and plan ahead.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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