As the new year begins it is time to make plans for the future. Those plans should include a Last Will and Testament to provide for and protect your loved ones should you die or become unable to care for yourself.
A Will, or Testament, is a legal document that expresses a person’s wishes as to how their property is to be distributed after their death and to name who is to manage the estate that is left.
Drawing up a Will is not a difficult thing, in fact, it can be done online. However, if you own a lot of property and have a lot of valuable things, you will want to hire an attorney to do the job.
A Will is also necessary to protect your children. If something were to happen to you and your spouse, their well-being may be determined by what is written in your Will. You will want to choose their future guardians and not leave that decision up to the state.
Here are some other important things to consider when drawing up a Will.
- If you are married and your spouse dies, you will inherit everything, unless otherwise specified in a Will.
- If there is no spouse, but you have children, then your children will inherit everything.
- If you are unmarried and don’t have children, or they have not survived you, then everything will go to your next of kin.
Your next of kin could be your parents, or siblings, or nieces and nephews, but the bottom line is that you want to be the one who decides whom will inherit your estate.
Also, there may be people whom you want to exclude from inheriting anything from your estate. The only way to do this, and to be assured that your wishes are respected, is to have a Will.
The probate process after one has died is much more difficult to navigate if you die intestate – or without a Will. It makes things much more complicated for surviving family members who will have to sort it all out and, most likely, the courts will be involved.
Drawing up a Will is an important series of decisions regarding the survivorship of your estate, so it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel when writing your Will.
If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.