Many people believe they do not need a will. Yet, we believe them to be one of the most important documents you will ever create. A will that is poorly drafted or does not dot every legal “i” and cross every legal “t” can be the cause of endless trouble for your survivors.
We’ve listed 5 very important reasons for ensuring you always have a valid and updated will.
Why A Will Is SO Important:
- To Choose Beneficiaries. Many succession laws will determine how your property will be distributed if you die without a valid will. These distributions may be contrary to what you want. In effect, by not having a will, you are allowing the state to choose your beneficiaries.
- To Appoint a Guardian. A prepared will allows you to name the chosen guardian by whom your minor children will be cared for in the event of your death and/or the death of your spouse.
- To Name an Executor. Without a will, you cannot appoint someone you trust to carry out the administration of your estate. If you do not specifically name an executor in a will, a court will appoint someone to handle your estate, perhaps someone you would not have chosen.
- To Minimize Taxes. A properly prepared will is necessary to implement estate-tax-reduction strategies. Your accountant can assist you and your attorney in the preparation of this will.
- To Establish Permanent Legal Residence. You may wish to firmly establish domicile (permanent legal residence) in a particular state or country for tax or other reasons. If you move frequently or own homes in more than one state, each state in which you reside could try to impose death or inheritance taxes at the time of death, possibly subjecting your estate to multiple probate proceedings. To lessen the risk of this, you should execute a will that clearly indicates your intended state of domicile.
You should review your will every two or three years, or whenever your circumstances change. A change that might necessitate a change to your estate plan might include:
- Having a child
- Having children move out of the house
- Acquiring a large asset
- Selling a large asset
- A change in the tax laws