If you’re like many people, you like to be organized and have control over most areas of your life but probably don’t like thinking about and planning for your own death. Talk about a paradox. One of the questions I am asked most frequently is, “Do I need a will?” My answer is almost always, “Yes.” Here are three reasons why having a will is important.
A will allows you to name a guardian for your minor children. If you pass away without a will, the court lacks your input in deciding who will raise your children. For a parent, this is no small oversight. By taking the time to execute a will and name a guardian, you ensure that the court will have your best recommendation in mind when selecting the person who will raise and care for your children. How’s that for some peace of mind?
A will enables you to distribute your estate according to your clear wishes. Many people I’ve spoken with say the reason they do not have a will is because they think they aren’t “rich enough” to need a will. Yet, the truth of the matter is everyone owns something. A will allows you to distribute whatever personal belongings and assets you do own, no matter how minimal, to the beneficiaries you designate. Otherwise, without a will, state law determines how the assets in your estate are distributed to your heirs.
A will lets you select an Executor to settle your affairs. The Executor is the person who will, among other duties, probate your will, open your estate, collect the estate assets, pay your debts, file any tax returns, and distribute the estate assets to your beneficiaries while observing strict deadlines. In short, the Executor represents your estate. In the absence of a will, state law designates who should represent your estate whether he or she is the same person you would have selected. However, a will puts the decision in your hands so you can appoint someone you trust to perform this important role.
Although death is something that none of us have control over, creating a will enables you to have a say in what will happen after you are gone. Also, know that a will is just part of the estate planning process. For more information on wills and estate planning and to discuss your specific circumstances, please call Allen R. Starrett, PLLC today to schedule a consultation.
Allen R. Starrett, PLLC is a Ballantyne law firm that focuses on wills, trusts, estate planning, probate, estate administration, and business law. Allen founded his law practice on the strong desire to be the trusted, lifelong advisor to families and small businesses. You may reach Allen at (704) 887-4944 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, please visit the firm’s website at www.allenstarrettlaw.com, blog at www.ballantyneestateplanningandprobate.com, or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/allenstarrettlaw.