Maybe your parents didn’t leave you with much and you had to figure out how to live out on your own. It was neither pleasant nor easy. Often, it’s one of the things that makes us the proudest, making a living and managing to get our kids up, out, on their way to making their own lives.

Now, why should you pass out checks just because you died?

Before you decide to “take it with you,” just take a moment consider to some downsides and few reasons that so many people decide to take another approach.

Nobody likes to think about dying

Only about one-third of Americans have a will, and experts in estate planning understand the reason the number is so low. Most folks don’t especially look forward to thinking a lot about dying and what will happen to the people they leave behind.

Still, it’s smart to taking strategic approach and develop a game plan. The time to think is when you’re alive. You’ll have plenty of time to not think later. And once you take a deep breath and start looking at it, it’s not so challenging.

A will is not about giving away money

A will is just an instruction manual from beyond the grave. You write one in hopes of controlling what will happen next, after the funeral. With it, you get to decide. Without it, anything can happen. And a lot certainly will happen.

When you die without a will (the technical term is “dying intestate”) the state of New Jersey will use its legal statutes to decide what to do with everything you own. Generally, it pays out any taxes or debts you owe and then uses its formulas to divide what’s left among your spouse and children. Typically, it’s a long and complicated process that your family will have to handle. If that’s what you want, you’ve got it.

The will is for thinking about your life and the people you’ve met

But your will is your place to tell people what you want, who you are, why you love them (or don’t) and how you think you should be remembered. Some people write some pretty memorable wills.

You can name where on the planet you’d like to be buried or have your ashes distributed, the kind of party you want people to throw, and what charities, causes, clubs or old friends you want to see your money given to.

Estate plans often make you worth more

The funny thing about creating a will or estate plan with the help of someone who understands them. It usually turns out that your worth in dollars goes up when you think it through. Making a plan often lets you do things that increase the total amount of wealth you have available to use for whatever, and whoever, you want.

Talk it through with somebody who knows how it works and who respects the fact that your decisions are indeed yours and nobody else’s.