How Will Your Belongings Be Distributed When You Are Gone?
This question befalls us all. With some simple planning, you can protect your lifelong collections, your family, and provide a detailed road map of how you want your affairs handled upon your passing.
While each situation is unique, here are the top five reasons you need a will.
You get to decide:
A will is a legal document, that when properly executed, lets you choose as to whom your belongings will be distributed. Many people think they don’t need a will because “they don’t have anything of value.” However, the smallest thing could be priceless to your loved ones and the best part about it, with a will, you can help ensure that person gets that gift when you have passed. Without a will there are no guarantees that your wishes will be carried out.
A will allows you to specify who acts as your executor (who will handle the distribution of your estate) and ensures that your wishes are followed. Without a will, who will raise your minor children when you are gone? With a will, you can specify a proper guardian to raise and care for your children, without a will the court will be charged with picking the person, potentially allowing someone you do not want to be the guardian.
Avoid lengthy probate process:
Most estates will go through some type of estate probate. There are a few ways to totally avoid probate, you could give all your stuff away before you pass, write a revocable living trust, or even some joint ownership options, absent these specific planning assets you will have to go through at least a minimal or small estate probate. One method in which to help ease the time and complexity of probate is to have a will. A will guides not only the executor but also the Court in the distribution of your estate as you desire.
Avoid other legal challenges:
If you die without a will, your estate may pass to someone you did not intend on it passing to. Your estate could be wrapped up in lengthy and costly litigation. An example of such is the recent passing of the artist known as “Prince”. Current Prince’s sibling are embroiled in a legal battle for what they believe to be their fair share of his massive fortune.
Although things are good today life has a way of changing that for us. There are many circumstances in which we don’t necessarily plan, divorce, sudden death, and even some births. All these circumstances create situations in which your will may need to change and you control that change. A will also allows you to disinherit someone, maybe your relationship has been strained over the years or they are already taken care of elsewhere. When life changes, sometimes your will should as well.