Everyone needs a will. Every year, individuals die without wills, and their families deal with a great deal of unnecessary headache, stress and sorrow because of the unpreparedness of the family member who passed away. But despite the fact that everyone needs a will, many people don’t know why. So here are 3 reasons you should have a will—yes, you!
- Wills dictate who takes your possessions.
This is the obvious reason, of course. A will is the document that decides who takes your possessions and your property at the time of your death. Even if your family knows who you were closest to, the law will not necessarily pass your possessions to that person. A will is a necessary and easy way to dictate who will take your possessions upon your passing, and, perhaps more importantly and in some situations, who will not take your possessions when you pass.
- Wills determine who takes custody of your minor children upon your passing.
This is one of the more frightening and concerning potential outcomes that a will helps to prevent. When you pass away, a court will be in charge of determining who will take custody of your minor children. A will provides clear and strong evidence of who it is you intended to have your children, and this will be upheld by the courts absent extraordinary circumstances. If you do not do this, your children could potentially be put in midst of a protracted legal custody battle. This is true even if everyone in the family is clear on who should have custody of the children or who you wish to have custody of the children. A court will still have the final say because no will was left to establish who you wished to have custody of your children.
If the other parent of your children is in the picture—married to you, or otherwise sharing custody with you—then this is not as much of a concern; the court will allow custody to the other parent. However, if both of you are to pass away suddenly, this would still be a potential problem that a will can solve. Simply put, when it comes to something as important as custody of your children there is no reason to take any chances.
- Wills determine who will be the Executor or Executrix of your Estate.
These may sound like fancy legal terms to many readers, but selecting who will be the Executor (or Executrix if a female) of your Estate is a very important decision. First, in selecting your Executor it is important to consider who will carry out your wishes at your death. Second, in selecting your Executor, you are selecting someone that will make very important decisions if there are ambiguities in your will or situations that you could not have predicted. Your Executor may also be responsible for setting up Trusts for your children if they are still minors and dealing with other details. Third and finally, someone has to take the responsibility to deal with your Estate, and that individual will in all likelihood be paid from your Estate for their time and trouble. Making sure that the person who is going to receive some payment from your Estate is someone you trust, respect and appreciate is important.
Conclusion: Wills are For Everyone
Wills are important for every individual to have. You need a will to handle the affairs of your Estate after your death. But in some cases, a Trust, such as a Revocable Living Trust is a better option. Speaking with an estate planning attorney is important, and it shouldn’t be put off. Call Cornerstone Law Firm today and speak with one of our attorneys about getting started on your will.