A will is a document that many people intend to draw up, but often they procrastinate for a variety of reasons. They might feel that they have designated enough beneficiaries in their accounts. They might also figure that their assets are going to naturally fall into the right hands after they pass away, and that drawing out an actual will may be redundant. Then off course, there is the matter that drawing up a will is an admittance of mortality, but just because a will has been prepared doesn’t mean it necessarily will be executed any time soon. It merely recognizes that anything can happen, and although a person’s last day may seem far off accidents and unexpected disease can happen leaving little time for planning. It is better to make plans early when you are able to be an active participant. Here are some reasons why it is important to have a will.
Set Up Desired Guardianships
One of the biggest reasons to have a will actually has very little to do with assets and money. It’s about making sure that the loved ones you are caring for will continue to be cared for by the right people in the event of your death. Most notably this would be your minor children, but may also include disabled adult children or elderly family members. If there is no will, the courts may look solely at “next of kin” designations to serve as guardians, which may of may not be the best people for the job. Setting up guardians ahead of time also gives you a chance to talk to those selected about how they should approach their new role in your loved one’s life.
Fill in Gaps for Property Assignment and Avoid Probate
When you really take the time to think about what you own, your assets may carry more value than you think. In some cases something that is just an object to you may hold strong sentimental value to certain family members, and when your relatives are put in a position to guess what you might want it can lead to unnecessary friction and even a lengthy and expensive probate process.
Define Heirs and Benefactors
The “default” for inheritance is not always what you would prefer. Sometimes it even means that people you don’t want to get anything will wind up with a large chunk that you don’t want them to, such as ex-spouses. Writing out a will also gives you an opportunity to designate charitable contributions to organizations that are important to you.
Minimizing Tax Obligations
How you divide up you estate can have an impact on the amount of taxes you pay on your estate, and the amount of inheritance that actually goes to your loved ones and favorite charities. By working with an experienced attorney on your will planning and preparation you can assure that your affairs are organized the best way possible so that you can live out your remaining days with the peace of mind that your loved ones will have what you want to leave them – regardless of how many days you have.