Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.
This week’s episode starts with a discussion about the benefits of being boring with your money.
Then we pivot to this week’s money question from Becky, who sent us an email:
“I was wondering if you could discuss wills and trusts on your podcast? For some background info on myself: I’m married, late 40s, both myself and spouse are in good health, one minor child, one adult child. We have no major debt. The house is 75% paid off. We have life insurance and retirement accounts. What are the benefits of having a will, and what are the things I should be looking for?
Check out this episode on either of these platforms:
Being boring with your money management can give you more opportunities to live your life — and avoid potential financial mistakes. Unless you’re a complete money nerd, chances are that taking care of money tasks can feel like a chore. The more complicated your finances, the more time you may have to spend tending to ongoing maintenance of various accounts. With more streamlined finances, you could have more free time to enjoy the activities you love. At the same time, a “set it and forget it” approach to things like investing can save you from trying to time the market and potentially losing money.
If you’re thinking of setting up a will but haven’t already, the good news is that doing so can be simple and affordable. Many online services, like Nolo or Rocket Lawyer, can provide templates for wills. Sorting out your estate is important so that you don’t die “intestate,” a situation in which your estate is distributed according to your state’s laws, rather than your own wishes. Getting your will pinned down can also save your loved ones anguish and uncertainty after you pass.
But a will isn’t the only document you should set up to help you and your family. A living will and a power of attorney can help you have the quality of life that you want in the event you become incapacitated.
Take care of business: You need an estate plan, especially if you have minor children or care about who gets your stuff. In most states, you’ll want a will. In a few states, you should consider a living trust.