When it comes to estate planning, many people mistakenly perceive the action to be meant for those who are wealthy and have a lot of property to leave behind. The real reason for creating an estate plan that includes a will, however, is because if you don't you might be surrendering your final choices to strangers. Read on to learn the important reasons to have a last will and testament.
For Your Family
A death, no matter how expected, brings with it a time of confusing emotions and many decisions for the surviving family members to make. Having a will relieves your loved ones of the need to make some of those decisions and can provide them with the security of knowing that your final wishes will be carried out. A will leaves no doubt about who should inherit your property, who should be in charge of administering your estate (the executor or personal representative), and even your funeral and burial wishes.
Those who pass away without a will are said to have died intestate. When that happens, the probate court takes over your estate and state government laws will apply to everything that follows. That means that virtual strangers will be making very personal decisions about what to do with your home, vehicles, bank account, pets, and everything else. If you want a say in how your estate is distributed or want to consider a favorite charity, you will need to make out a will.
Children under the age of 18 are considered minors and if you are a single parent you will need to make provisions for their care and custody. You can give yourself a great deal of peace of mind by addressing the issue of guardianship for your children in a will. Appointing a trustworthy and caring friend or family member to care for your children is an act of love and an acknowledgment of what they mean to you.
A person will be put in charge of your estate, regardless of whether you have a will or not. If you die intestate, the county probate judge will appoint a person to do the job of the executor or personal administrator. This job involves taking an inventory of your property, paying your final bills, and distributing property to your beneficiaries. You might want to make that appointment based on your own feelings rather than allow the court to appoint someone else.
Speak to an probate attorney for more information.