Having a last will and testament in place is an important part of life. Keep your assets protected and safe for your loved ones will give you peace of mind. Estate planning can give you and your family peace of mind.
Why is a Will Important?
A will is important to have so that you can:
- Have decision-making power over your assets. If you die without a will, the state steps in and decides who gets what.
- Intestacy laws vary from state to state, but generally speaking, if a person dies leaving a spouse and children, the assets will be divided up among them. But why leave that to chance?
- If you have young children, you need a will to determine guardianship. Money aside, that’s definitely not something you should leave to chance. See this great CNN article for more details on why it’s good to have a will in place.
- You can also name a property manager for your children’s inheritance if they are minors.
- Trusts are more easily defined and managed within your will. Trusts allow you to put conditions on your assets distribution as well as helping to minimize taxes. Keep in mind, a trust is not a will. A trust is usually something the defines one specific part of your estate, such as insurance money or property. It is not the sum of your assets.
- With a will, you can leave room for what’s known as “pour-over” inside your estate. That way, if you forget to rename any of your assets inside your trust, they will stay as part of the trust, staying within your intentions.
- You can name an executor with your will. Knowing that someone you trust is in charge of your asset distribution leaves even greater peace of mind that your estate will be handled properly after your death.
- With a will, you can also leave care taking instructions for your pet. This is becoming more common as many people consider their pets a part of the family.
- Take care of your family and plan for taxes. This is a great article from the Wall Street Journal that details some of the finer points of estate planning.
Ensure Your Wishes Are Heard
After you pass away, your estate will hold new meaning for your heirs. You can leave a legacy with your will and knowing that your estate can have the power to take care of your loved ones after you are gone is a great reason to get out there and make sure it’s done.