It is the beginning of a new year, a time when changes are embarked upon and stock is taken. While maybe not at the top of the list, a Last Will and Testament should be something you add to that list. It is not always easy talking about death, but having a Will before you reach that point is important.
As soon as you own anything, it is time to start planning a Will. If you own property, have investments, or have inherited something valuable from someone – all of that should go into your Will.
If you have children, a Will is necessary to protect them and their well-being should something happen to you. 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:
- 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.
There also 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.
One thing is for sure: 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.
This 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.