When and Why to Write a Will

October 3, 2015

It is a common misconception that Wills avoid probate. Often, when people realize that Wills do not, in fact, avoid probate, they no longer see a purpose in writing a Will. However, the benefit to drafting a Will is that it allows you to choose when, how, and to whom your assets are distributed after your death. If you die without a Will, you are determined to have died intestate. In such an event, the intestacy laws of the state where you lived at your death will dictate the distribution of your assets. Basically, your assets will be divided among your closest living biological (or legally adopted) relatives. If you want to avoid a state law deciding who inherits your wealth, you can instead name individuals and/or charities within a Will.

Additionally, your Will allows you to add terms limiting or managing a distribution to one or all recipients. One common example is to transfer assets which would have otherwise been distributed to a young adult in a contingency trust established within your Will until they reach a more mature age of your choosing. Your Will also allows you to nominate an individual (or individuals) to manage the administration of your estate after your death. If you do not pre-select these individuals, a Court will choose them on your behalf after your death. There is an additional major benefit to drafting a Will as a parent with minor children, as your Will allows you to nominate individuals to care for your children’s physical and financial well-being in the event of your death.

Wills serve an important role in planning for your eventual death and offer an inexpensive and flexible way to make your own choices regarding wealth transfer and the administration of your estate after your death.

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