Why Do I Need A Will?
1. Why have a Last Will and Testament?
As an attorney, I think it is important for every individual to have a last will and testament. A will protects your family after your death and is one of the most vital documents you need. You may not care what happens to your money or assets after you die, and you may not care how all of it is distributed. You may not have money or assets, or you may plan on spending all of it before you die.
However, for people with kids, especially minor children, it is paramount. Your Will outlines how you will provide for your child(ren) when you are gone. A last will and testament is a legally binding contract that outlines your last wishes to be carried out upon your death. A will gives you the power to make final and very important decisions regarding your estate, minor children and burial preferences.
2. What is a Will?
Let me explain a little bit about what a will is legally. A will is a written instrument that provides for the disposition of your property after your death. If you own a home, a car, have a checking or savings account then you have an estate.
Often, a person with a small or modest estate is most in need of a plan to transfer property.
Many people feel they are “young” and because they are healthy they believe nothing is going to happen to them any time soon.
What should be of concern are your assets and financial estate. Even if you do not care about the details once you are gone, appreciate that tomorrow may be too late to ensure how your loved ones will deal with what to do about you, much less how to handle the financial and property matters you leave behind.
Think about how terribly difficult it would be during bereavement for your loved ones to deal with your estate without a will. You can save them time, trouble, arguments, expenses, and delays by having one.
3. What are other benefits of having a Will?
Having a will saves money and time. Oh yes, taxes. Taxes are much higher without a will. Do you want the government to get what is yours when you die?
4. What happens if I die without a Will?
If you die intestate (without a will), your property will be distributed by The Court according to the laws of the state in which you reside at the time of your death. If you have a minor child at the time of your death and the child has no living parent, the Court will also choose the guardian for your child and the trustee to manage the minor child's inheritance. To me, that is the biggest reason to have a will. The Court knows nothing about you, your kids or the best person to raise your kids. And quite honestly, the Court does not want to have to make this decision any more than you don't want him or her to have to do so.
5. Besides a Will, what else should I have?
There are two more documents that are equally important to the will: the General Power of Attorney and the Living Will. Basically, a General Power of Attorney is for financial decision checking and a Living Will is for medical decisions. These documents take effect if you are incapacitated and cease to be in effect if/when you are no longer incapacitated. Also important to note is that these documents expire once you die.