No one really likes to think about their death. That’s probably one reason why so many people put off writing a will. Others think that only wealthy people need wills because their assets are so large that they need to specify how to distribute them.
However, wills really are for everyone. In fact, creating a will has a lot of benefits. Some of those include these five factors:
- You control how your estate assets are divided. If you have children or family members that you want to receive specific assets, you get to decide who gets what—not the courts. Without a will, the court will make that decision for you.
- Settling probate for your estate will go smoother and faster. If you don’t have a will, you really do leave a burden for your loved ones. Processing an estate through probate is complicated. Without a will, the courts will take time to determine how to divide your assets and that can be a lengthy and costly process. With a will, your wishes are known to the state and you have your own appointed executor who distributes your assets.
- You can name a guardian for your underage children. For parents, this often is why they end up writing a will—to ensure they have appointed someone to care for their children in case they pass away unexpectedly.
- You can talk with your family members ahead of time about what assets they will receive. If you pass down heirloom or treasured items, you can let them help you decide who will receive them. If you have a treasured classic car, you can determine who might best take care of it. Or you can realize that after your death, it would be better to sell it and split the money between each of your children equally. Often, having conversations about those items upfront helps deter conflicts later.
- An estate planning attorney can advise you on other aspects of full estate planning. This includes if you might need to establish a trust to regulate how your assets are handled and avoid excessive taxes. Also, they can help you complete a living will, a health care directive and a power of attorney designation. All of those will be helpful if you happen to become very ill very quickly or suffer serious injuries or become incapacitated.
While completing a will isn’t the easiest task to do, you will feel better once you have one in place. You’ll know that when you pass away, your final wishes will be clear, and your loved ones will benefit from the assets you’ve passed on.