Having a will benefits your heirs. Although it can be difficult to think about your mortality, a will is your last word. It spells out exactly how you want things handled after your death and can protect your spouse and children. Here are six reasons you need a will.
You Decide How Your Assets Are Distributed
Although you may tell your spouse and children that you want your property divided in a particular way, a will is the only legally binding document that ensures your desires will be carried out. It can minimize family conflict. If you want to leave assets to friends or charities, a will makes sure that it happens.
You Decide Who Takes Care of Your Minor Children
Your will lets the courts know your wishes if anything happens to you before your children reach adulthood. Without a will, the courts must choose a guardian. Of course, the court must do its due diligence among the family members who are available, but the court won’t have your insight.
A Will Speeds Up the Probate Process
Even if you have a will, your estate will go through probate. The difference is that the court will know how you want your estate managed and won’t have to determine that issue on its own. If you don’t have a will, the court must divide your estate based on state laws instead of your input.
A Will Lets You Disinherit People
If you die intestate, or without a will, the state determines how to distribute your assets. First in line is your spouse, then children, then parents, and so forth, based on state laws. If you don’t want someone to inherit a portion of your estate, for whatever reason, your will is the legal document that outlines your wishes.
You Decide Who Manages Your Estate
As part of your will, you name an executor, a person who makes sure that all your affairs are in order. You can name a family member or someone else. The key thing to note is that it’s your choice. Absent a will, the state will nominate an individual. While this person may be honest, your estate will generally have to pay a certain percentage to the executor.
You Can Change Your Mind as Your Circumstances Change
A will is not set in stone until your death. You can alter your will any time you choose. Tomorrow is not promised, so discuss your estate planning needs with an estate planning attorney, like an estate planning attorney today.