One topic many people seem to avoid, though we know it is necessary, is making a will. I assume one reason we avoid the topic is that we just don’t want to consider our own mortality. But it is something we all have to eventually face. To make the process less stressful for our loved ones, we need to have a will made that will give instructions for those who are left behind. While there are certainly many reasons to make a will, we will take a look at just a few of those reasons in this particular blog.
Reason 1: You decide who will be the guardian of your minor children. If you do not have a will in place and you meet an untimely death, someone else (the court system) will choose who will be the guardian and will take care of your minor children. Just think about whom the court might appoint to raise your children. Would that be the choice you would have made? Probably not. So don’t leave that extremely important decision up to someone else. Specify in your will your choice for guardian.
Reason 2: You decide how your assets will be distributed. Again this is another decision you do not want to leave up to the court system. Leave instructions in the will as to the recipients of your property and assets. The final decision should be yours since it is your property and you spent your life acquiring the assets. Sadly, people will come around wanting part of your estate once you pass away. Don’t give them the opportunity to take things that were meant for your heirs.
Reason 3: You can simplify the probate process. By having a will made, you will streamline the probate process. The instructions have been made and should be followed. If you die without a will, called dying intestate, the probate court will decide how all of your property is distributed. This process could take months and you don’t want your family to have to wait any longer than necessary to receive their inheritance.
Reason 4: You can make gifts and donations. If you choose to make gifts and donations from your estate, state the amount and recipients in your will. Just telling your family that you would like to donate money to a charitable organization does not necessarily mean it will actually happen. Specify in the will what your wishes are and the administrator (executor) is required to follow your instructions. Remember that a will is a legally binding document and the administrator of your estate is required to follow your wishes.
Reason 5: There are no guarantees of tomorrow. We all know that tomorrow is not promised so we need to help make our loss less painful for everyone involved. Making a will gave me peace that if something happened to me without notice, my family would be financially taken care of in the way I felt was best for them. Planning ahead for an event that is certain to happen will take away some of the stress for your family. There will be fewer opportunities for fighting over who gets what assets.
Families have been broken apart due to the lack of a will. Don’t let that happen to your loved ones. Make an appointment with an attorney to create your will. There are even websites that will allow you to create a will for free. The small amount of time and expense it takes will be well worth the cost and the peace of mind.