Why Do I Need a Will?

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Here are ten good reasons why you may need to have a will

The basic legal document you use to protect, care for, and provide for your loved ones in the event of your death is your will. In a will you can give important instructions regarding how your property should be distributed after your death, who will care for your children and other loved ones, who will be in charge of your affairs, and much more.

Here are just a few of the reasons why you need a will.

  1. You get to decide who gets what. If you die without a will inflexible state laws determine who will get the things your own. There is a pretty good chance that those state laws will differ from what you would have wanted.
  2. You get to decide who will be in charge of winding up your affairs. A will allows you to name the person or persons you want to be in charge of winding up your affairs. You can choose the person best suited for dealing with complications like taxes and handling the legal requirements of your estate.
  3. You can protect heirs who need guidance and assistance. Studies show that children who get their inheritance outright often blow it in just a few months. Even if they don’t spend it immediately, an inheritance can easily be lost to creditors or a divorce. A will allows you to set up trusts and other devices that can protect and preserve their inheritance so it will actually benefit them in the long run.
  4. You can limit family arguments. Having a will that lays out who is in charge and who gets what can help limit family fights about your estate.
  5. You can make sure your business continues to operate smoothly. Many small businesses fail to survive the death of their owner. If you have a small business your will can help it survive your death by providing for an orderly succession and continuation of its affairs.
  6. You get to decide who will care for your minor children. If you have young children your will provides you with the opportunity to name the guardian who will care for them after your death. Choosing a guardian for your children may be one of the most important decisions you will ever have to make.
  7. You can provide for a disabled child, elderly parent, or other relative in a way that will protect and provide for them without jeopardizing any government benefits they may receive.
  8. You can help a favorite charity or cause. You will can include a legacy to a favorite cause that can continue to do good on your behalf on after you are gone. Even small donations can have an impact.
  9. You can disinherit someone who would otherwise inherit. If you die without a will, part or all of your estate may pass to someone you did not intend. Or it may be divided up amongst your heirs in a way that is unfair. You can fix these problems in your will.
  10. You can limit taxes and other expenses.

If you already have a will, you should have it reviewed every five years, or sooner in the event that that there are significant changes in your financial or family circumstances.