Planning an estate is something many folks do not look forward to. And who can blame them? Who really wants to think a lot about what’s going to become of their property after they are gone? That, after all, would mean having to admit that they will in fact be gone someday. But estate planning should not be put on the back burner for too long, because you never know when that day may come, and you need to be ready with at least the most basic of tools – the last will and testament.
There are a few good reasons why getting a will should be on the top of your estate planning priority list:
1. Decide who gets your assets
This is the most obvious one – you need to have a will to make certain that it is absolutely clear who gets what. Sure, you may not be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, but even if you don’t have a sizable amount of assets, if you have no clear plan regarding whom you want to receive them, your heirs may very well end up battling each other in court – and it could get ugly. You may think now that there’s no way this could happen, because everybody gets along. But inheritances can make people turn greedy – especially if the question of what they are getting is open ended and they believe they need to fight for their fair share. A simple ‘last will and testament’ can resolve this potential mess and insure a relatively peaceful transition of your estate property when you are gone.
2. Decide who distributes your assets
A will is a great estate planning tool because it not only allows you to determine who gets your property, it also allows you to decide who is in charge of doling it out. In most states, this person is referred to as the executor. The executor has a very important function as this person works with your attorney to make sure all your assets go where they are intended. It is important, therefore, to put a lot of thought into who you want to fill this very important position. Make sure it is someone who you can trust and will be available to take on this responsibility.
3. Decide who raises your children
People often forget that estate planning has more to do than just your financial assets. Making a will also allows you to designate a guardian for your underage children. This is perhaps an even more critical decision than who gets your money. This has to do with how your kids will be raised and what kind of future they will have. As with the choice of executor, it is vital that you designate a guardian that you already know would love to take care of your kids and will raise them in a good home, allowing them the best chance at a brighter future.
As always, consult your estate planning attorney to find out your best legal options