Writing a will may be the last thing on your mind as you navigate a busy day-to-day schedule. But, at any stage of adulthood, writing a will is an important step towards planning for later life.
Let’s go over the top five reasons for all adults to have a will.
Reason #1: You Can Ease The Burden On Loved Ones.
By writing a will, you can greatly simplify the process of distributing your assets among your beneficiaries. With clear instructions and no questions as to what your wishes are, a will can eliminate unneeded stress surrounding your estate for your loved ones.
Minimize Confusion Over Managing Your Estate
The time after a loved one’s death is already a trying one. If you don’t have a will, it will cause further stress and confusion for your loved ones as they scramble to organize your estate. With clear instructions for the estate transfer and management in your will, you won’t leave your loved ones guessing. Plus, by creating a will, you can likely save your family from expending time and legal fees in a probate case.
Reason #2: You Can Name an Executor.
When you write a will, you’ll select a person to take on the role of executor. An executor is a person officially tasked with managing your estate after your death. This person will be responsible for:
- Distributing your assets to beneficiaries
- Paying outstanding debts to creditors
- Determining if probate is necessary
- Winding up your affairs (closing bank accounts, credit cards, etc.)
- Filing a final income tax return
It goes without saying that the role of executor comes with many important responsibilities. By writing a will, you can designate someone that you trust to carry out the executor duties fully and properly. If you pass away without a will, your executor would be selected in probate court according to state law.
Reason #3: You Can Name A Guardian For Minor Children.
Without a will, state law would determine guardianship for your minor children in the event of your death. By writing a will, you can specify a guardian for your children. A guardian is defined as an individual with the legal responsibility to care for a child until he or she turns 18 years old. This includes caring for the child’s health, education, and general welfare.
The Court is Very Likely To Respect Your Choice of Guardian.
As a parent, you want to ensure that your children are cared for by a trusted, loving adult if you’re no longer around. Writing a will gives you the power to do just that. While the court technically has the final say in the guardianship of your minor child after your death, your choice will be seriously regarded under most state law. Generally, assuming that there isn’t any strong evidence to dispute your choice, the court will follow your choice of guardian.
Reason #4: You Can Create A Testamentary Trust.
One large perk of writing a will is that you can create a testamentary trust. A testamentary trust is a type of trust that covers the distribution of an estate. It may cover a portion of the estate or the entire estate, and it’s included in your last will and testament. You can have multiple testamentary trusts within a single will.
A testamentary trust goes into effect after the probate process for the will has concluded. Many people opt to create testamentary trusts because they protect your estate and provide flexibility in how your assets can be distributed. This type of trust is also helpful for beneficiaries because it can lower the taxes imposed on your assets after your death.
Reason #5: You Can Control Who Inherits Your Assets.
With a will, you can disinherit people who would legally otherwise inherit your assets. With the specific instructions that you include in your will, you can keep your assets from falling into the possession of a person that you wouldn’t want to have them. While it’s not particularly common to disinherit an heir, you may want to do so if a legal heir can financially support themselves, or if you don’t have a relationship to a legal heir. Also, if you’re been through a divorce, you may want to disinherit your ex-spouse.
As an established adult, taking the time to write a legal will is crucial to securing the fate of your assets. By creating a will, you can protect your estate and your beneficiaries in the event of your death.