A will is a written document that speaks for you after you die. It can communicate how you want your property and assets to be distributed; name a guardian for your children if you pass away before they reach adulthood; leave specific instructions like arrangements for your funeral.
Almost all assets have to go to probate court to start the legal process overseeing the distribution of assets. But when you don’t have a will, this process can get complicated . The court has to name a personal representative to administer your estate. And this can be time consuming , expensive and even contentious for your loved ones. One of the top reasons to have a will is to streamline this probate process . When you have a will , you can choose the person you want to handle your estate, making it easier for your loved ones.
A will allows you to make an informed decision about who should take care of your minor children. Absent a will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian. Having a will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children or, better, make sure it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.
If you have complicated family dynamics , there’s a good reason to have a will. When you die without a will, your family will have to guess at what your final wishes were. And chances are, they won’t always agree. This ambiguity can create friction, and even fights, which sometimes last a lifetime. Creating a will solves the problem.
A will includes specific directions on how you wish your estate to be distributed after your death, including provisions for any tangible personal property that you may own. If you don’t have a will in place, you can’t select the recipients of your property and the state you reside in will determine how your property is divided.
Another reason to have a will is because it allows you to minimise your estate taxes. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.
It is advisable to have a person with necessary legal knowledge and expertise , such as an attorney draw up your will. Attorneys have expert knowledge that will ensure that your will is clear, concise and reflects your true intentions.