ESTATE PLANNING 101: Why do I need a Will?
Everyone could benefit by having a will. A will instructs where you want your belongings and property distributed when you are gone – it speaks for you when you cannot.
Do you need a will? The answer from the professionals is an easy yes. If you do not have a will in place when you die, the court will decide who gets your assets – not you! A will is a plan that allows you tell the world what you want. If you die without a will, the state decides who will get your assets without regard to the wishes or needs of your family or heirs.
Dying without a will – known as dying intestate – can be costly and leaves no say over who gets your assets. Intestacy is the state of dying without having made a valid will in advance. The laws can vary from state to state, and if you die leaving a spouse or kids, your assets will be divided between your spouse and children. If you are single with no children, the state will decide which relatives inherit your estate. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of your family to create a will well in advance before you are gone.
Proper timing and planning can mean everything when it comes to having a will in place. You can change it at any time and it’s a very good idea to review it every couple of years. This is especially important if you get married or divorced or when new children are born. It’s also beneficial to have a will if you have a trust. Your will allows you to instruct your wants and desires – again, it speaks for you when you are gone. Your will is also one of the best ways to name your beneficiaries.
By creating a will, you can rest assured that your family will be taken care of when you cannot. Putting a will in place in advance provides the assurance that your financial goals and your family’s welfare will be taken care of after you are gone.
Future topic: Why should I assign power of attorney?