A last will and testament is a legal document that states your wishes for how your property and affairs are handled after you pass away. Here are four important reasons why you should have a will:
- Ensure your wishes are followed. A will allows you to state who will receive your property and assets. Just as importantly, it also allows you to state who you do not want to inherit from you. Without a will, state law dictates how your assets pass, which may not match your wishes. For example, if you are married but have children from a prior relationship and die without a will, then one-third of your estate will go to your spouse and the remaining two-thirds will go to your children.
- Name A Guardian for Your Children. Creating a will allows you to nominate an individual to care for your children should you pass away suddenly before they reach adulthood. If you do not nominate a guardian through a will, then the court would decide who would be responsible for your children without any input from you. Naming a guardian for your children ensures that smoothest transition possible for your children during an incredibly difficult time.
- Name the Executor of Your Estate. In a will, you can state who you would like to take care of your affairs, such as paying your bills and distributing your assets, after you pass. This individual is responsible for paying your final expenses and making sure your assets are properly distributed. If you do not name an executor, then once again state law will dictate who can qualify as the administrator of your estate, which may not be who you wish to handle your final affairs.
- Peace of Mind for Loved Ones. Having a will that sets out your wishes often reduces the stress of loved ones after you pass. If your wishes are not outlined in a will, your family may need to turn to the court system for answers. This can be time consuming, stressful, and expensive. While losing a loved one is never stress free, creating a will is a simple way to make things as easy as possible for the loved ones you leave behind.
*The information provided in this article is not intended as legal advice. It is the recommendation of this author that you consult an attorney regarding your specific situation.