The Importance of a Will

Death is not a popular subject, especially when the death we’re referring to is our own. Even though it may not be pleasant, we need to plan ahead of time for what will happen when we pass on. Purchasing life insurance to pay for final expenses and leave the family with some money is a good start. But this doesn’t eliminate the need for a will.

Basically, a will is a document that dictates what will happen to your estate when you are gone. It details which assets go to whom, and it names an executor to oversee the process. Based on this definition, those who have few possessions often feel that they have no need for a will. But they do.

Here are some reasons that every person should have a written will:

* In the absence of a will, your assets will be distributed by the court as they see fit. If you are married and have children, all assets are usually divided between the surviving spouse and the children. If not, they go to blood relatives. And if there are no surviving relatives, they go to your state of residence. Writing a will ensures that your assets are distributed the way you want them to be.

* If you have minor children, the will can specify who will be their guardians. If you do not have one, the court will decide where they go, and they could end up in foster care or with someone you would not approve of.

* If you do not have a will, the court will have to appoint an administrator for your estate. This can be a lengthy and expensive process, and could hold up the distribution of your assets. The fees will be taken from your estate, and that will leave less for your heirs.

* Your will can determine how property for minor children is managed. You can set up something called a testamentary trust, which will put money or property in the hands of an assigned adult until the child reaches a specified age. By setting up such a trust, you can ensure that your children do not get the money or property until they are old enough to handle it responsibly.

* A well-written will can reduce the likelihood of disputes over your property. If there is a dispute, the court will follow the will as closely as possible in making its decision.

Unless you have no possessions and no children, writing a will is of the utmost importance. It will ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and your children receive proper care. It will also make things much easier for your loved ones when you die. Such things may be difficult to think about, but once you’ve written your will, you can rest easy knowing that everything will be taken care of.

estate planning personal finance personal finances probate will

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