Dying is part of life, but it doesn’t mean we should just wait for it to come. Preparation is the best way to responsibly address your own mortality. Without a will, state laws determine how your property will be distributed, usually to your closest relatives, like your spouse, children or parents. If you leave a spouse behind but have no will, your spouse is not 100% guaranteed to receive your entire estate. They may receive a portion of it, but your estate will likely be divided between your spouse and other heirs. A will is the only place to nominate a guardian to care for your children. That alone is reason to ensure it is prepared. Without a will with your decisions, a court decides who should care for your children.
If you do not have a will, the distribution of your property is left up to the government, and may end up becoming state property. A will helps ensure that your wishes are carried out, and it makes such a confusing time easier to bear. Only a will can properly indicate what happens to your property and other assets after your death. You can use your will to name an executor or personal representative to carry out your wishes. This person will be charged with managing the estate and wrapping up your affairs, which includes identifying and resolving all debts and filing tax returns. Without a will, a court will appoint someone you’ve probably never met to do this job.
A will also provides your loved ones with your funeral arrangements and burial preferences. It’s a tough topic to discuss so outlining your preferences in your will can keep your loved ones from having to make even more difficult decisions.
Even if you have a living trust and think you do not need to name guardians for your children, you might still want to consider a back-up will. A back-up will provide a catch-all for any property that isn’t taken care of by your living trust or other estate planning device.
Consulting a trusted lawyer makes this process much easier. It’s not a fun subject, and he can get you through it with less stress and more peace of mind.
If you need assistance with creating a will, we can help. Contact our office at 256-232-2310 and let us go to work for you. Click here to talk to us about your will.