The Importance of a Will

A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children.

A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children. If you die without a will, those wishes may not be carried out.1 Further, your heirs may be forced to spend additional time, money, and emotional energy to settle your affairs after you’re gone.

Wills┬ácan vary in their effectiveness, depending on the type, though no document will likely resolve every issue that arises after your death. Here’s what you need to know about these vital documents.

IMPORTANT ISSUES

  • A will is a legal document that spells out your wishes regarding care of your children, as well as distribution of your assets after your death.
  • Failure to prepare a will typically leaves decisions about your estate in the hands of judges or state officials, and may also cause family strife.
  • You can prepare a valid will yourself, but you should have the document witnessed to decrease the likelihood of successful challenges later.
  • To be completely sure everything is in order, consider having your will prepared by a trusts and estates attorney.

WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A WILL

Some people think that only the very wealthy or those with complicated assets need wills. However, there are many good reasons to have a will.

  • You can be clear about who gets your assets. You can decide who gets what and how much.
  • You can keep your assets out of the hands of people you don’t want to have them (like an estranged relative).
  • You can identify who should care for your children. Without a will, the courts will decide.
  • Your heirs will have a faster and easier time getting access to your assets.
  • You can plan to save your estate money on taxes. You can also give gifts and charitable donations, which can help offset the estate tax.

 

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