A will is one of the most important legal things you can do for yourself and your family. It legally protects your spouse and children while spelling out exactly how you would like things handled after your death.
- You decide who will take care of your minor children. You and not the court will name exactly who you want to raise the children and how you would like for them to be raised. You certainly don’t want your children to become wards of the state, which is what can happen if you don’t have a will.
- A will is a legally-binding document that allows you to designate how your estate will be handled upon your death. If you die without a will, or intestate, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be carried out. Wills also help prevent potential fighting amongst relatives.
- Another good reason to have a will is that it will minimize your estate taxes. The value of what you give your relatives is taken into account when taxes are accessed on your estate.
- All estates must go through the probate process whether or not you have a will. If you die without a will, the Probate court will decide how to divide your estate.
- In your will, you’ll name an executor who will wind up your affairs after you have died. This person will make sure all your affairs are in order including cancelling credit cards and notifying banks and other businesses.
- You may disinherit persons who would otherwise stand to inherit. Without the benefit of a will, your assets may wind up in the hands of the wrong people.
- You may make gifts and donations, which will also lower your estate taxes.
If you haven’t yet made a will, consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area. Your will is not set in stone and may be changed if your circumstances change, and having an attorney guiding you through the process is a good idea.