Unless you like hiring the government as your estate planner you will need a Will. I do not know about you, but I do not trust the government to plan my estate. Nor do I want my family to endure any more stress after I pass away. However, if you do not have a Will that is exactly what you are doing to your family and it is called dieing intestate.
If you die intestate, the state’s laws and the court where your real and personal property resides will determine who will receive your property after you pass away. Do you really want all your property going to your brother who has a gambling problem or to your underage children without any direction? A Last Will and Testament allows you to control your property’s dispersement after your death.
In addition, if you do not have a Will, your family will suffer more stress and time consuming court hearings. They will need to miss work to attend these hearings. Your intention of leaving your family all your assets might never happen. More of your hard-earned money will be taken from your estate to pay for the additional cost of attorney fees, accountant fees, court costs and personal representative fees. Wouldn’t you rather have your assets going to your loved ones rather than paying additional fees involved in dieing intestate?
The cost will continue to rise if you have property in another state. Now your family is subjected to traveling to that state, enduring more court proceeding and professional to represent them to obtain ownership of that property.
Unfortunately, divorce and death bring out the worst in families; now everyone wants that old broken down chair in the back of the basement and the court has to decide who will get it. A Will allows you to determine, if you choose, specifically who will get that chair and why you chose that person.
You can put a reason behind the gifts you are leaving for your family. You can let your family know that you wanted your cousin Joe to get the chair because you guys used to fight over it every family gathering. It not only let your family know you were thing of them but you can leave them with many memories that might be forgotten.
A Will should accomplish more than allowing you to choose where your property should go to after you pass away. A typical Will should also have you pick your personal representative and pick a guardian for your underage children or pets. However, a Will can and should be more than that.
A Will is most often your final words to the family. Many people are now using their Wills to reassure and comfort their family after they have passed away. Family members know that you were thinking of them and their well-being by planning for them after you pass away. You can make your Will as individual as you would like it. You can let your family know you love them; you forgive them or important advice they should live by.
More people are choosing to have themselves video taped while they read their Will. Having you read your Will has several advantages. This can give your family members more comfort hearing your voice and this stressful time. They can also go back after a few months or years and feel comforted all over again. You must still have a written Will but another advantage to having you read your Will video taped may also provide evidence to your sound mind and competency if your Will is ever contested.
During the stressful time after your death, give your family the best gift of all, a well thought-out Will. You will avoid the government as your estate planner, you will give direction to the court, and you may comfort your family through this troublesome time.