Creating a will is essential for just about everyone and is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Fortunately, making a legally binding Last Will and Testament is not nearly as complicated as most people believe it to be. Not only can a will legally protect your spouse, children, and assets, it can also spell out exactly how you would like things to be handled after you have passed on.
With that being said, here are six top reasons why you should have a will.
1.YOU decide how your estate will be distributed
A will lets you determine how you would like your estate to be handled upon your death. If you have important assets that you want to go to specific people, the only way to ensure that’s exactly what happens, is to have a legally binding last will and testament outlining exactly where you want everything to go. If you die without a will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out.
2. Establish who will take care of your children
Parents of young children should be especially proactive about making a will, because a Will establishes who your children’s guardians would be in the event that you (or you and your spouse) die prematurely. If there is no Will in place, that decision is also left to the state. If you have a trust, a business, or a large amount of assets you would like to divide up between your children now or when they reach a certain age, your Will should make your intentions clear.
3. To avoid a lengthy (and expensive) probate process
All estates must go through the probate process, with or without a will. Having a will speeds up the probate process and informs the court how you’d like your estate divided. If you die without a will the probate court will decide how to divide your estate without your input, which can cause long, unnecessary delays.
4. You decide who will manage the affairs of your estate
When you write a will, you become a “testator” and may nominate an “executor,” to be in charge of wrapping up all your affairs. It’s an important job because it involves everything from closing bank accounts through liquidating assets. Naturally, you’ll want someone you trust carrying out these activities rather than someone the court chooses. A will allows you to have a say in the selection.
5. Decide who will not receive your assets
If you die without a will, part or all of your estate may pass to someone you did not intend. Most people know that a will lets them decide who will receive property from their estate. However, they may not be aware that creating a will can also help ensure that other people don’t receive anything. This might be a concern if you want to prevent an ex-spouse from receiving an inheritance, or if one child received your support through school and you want to ensure a second child gets his or her fair share, too.
6. Eliminate the potential for family disputes
If you die without a will, your family will be left to guess what your final wishes were… Chances are, they won’t always agree. This sort of ambiguity can create friction, and even fights, which can sometimes last a lifetime. Creating a will preemptively solves the problem by eliminating the guesswork.
Individuals and couples who want to create a will should speak with an experienced estate law attorney. This attorney will be able to review the case and recommend the best course of action on issues regarding the distribution of assets, appropriate language to use in the will and protecting their estates, such as through trusts.
Let our trusted team of legal and accounting professionals help you determine whether a will or trust is best for you and your family. Contact the experienced attorneys at Bononi & Company, P.C. for help with all of your estate planning needs.