Tuesday, January 24, 2017, AM | Leave Comment
We are all familiar with the concept of a will – it is a legal document that dictates the final wishes of a deceased person.
Estate planning is not only for the wealthy; everyone should consider safeguarding their possessions and their family with a state-specific will.
A quote popularly attributed to Benjamin Franklin says “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Nowhere is this truer than with your legacy, because if you fail to protect it, the government (which is well known for its ability to handle money) gets to decide how to administer it.
Here are just five of the many reasons you need a will, and need it now.
Deciding Who Gets What
According to an Estate Planning Lawyer in Grand Rapids, the most common reason people create a will Is to divide up their estate.
Creating a will guarantees that your money and other valuables go where you want them to. Even if you don’t have thousands in the banks, the things you do have will be given away to family and friends.
If you have an idea of who you do, or don’t, want to have these things, you need a will.
You will also need a will if you intend to leave donations for nonprofits, or give money to your church upon your demise.
A will is the only way to guarantee your estate is managed the way you want.
Simplifying the Probate Process
Probate is the process of collecting and distributing a deceased person’s possession to inheritors and creditors.
If you have already made your wishes known with a will, this court supervised process is far simpler, and more likely to go the way you want it to.
Without a will, the process could not only become lengthy, it could leave those closest to you with nothing.
Avoid Legal Disputes
If you watch TV, you know that legal disputes can get messy. Fights over money and property can turn families against each other. Creating a will and reading it to your heirs while you’re still alive will help solve possible disputes before they cause irreparable damage to family relationships.
The lack of a will or the lack of transparency about what’s in the will is what causes brothers to quit speaking to each other for decades. Don’t do that to your family.
Custody of Your Children
Most people only consider the financial aspects of creating a will.
In the unfortunate event of your death, custody of your underage children will be the first order of business.
If you are married, custody may transfer directly to your spouse; however, that will not stop others for petitioning for custody.
If you are a single parent, custody of your children may not go into the hands of someone you trust. Safeguard your children by including your wishes for their care in your will.
Peace of Mind
Tomorrow is not promised. One of the reasons that people avoid estate planning is that it forces them to confront their own mortality. This is a silly excuse.
Believing yourself to be immortal will not make it so. If this is your stumbling block, do what it takes to get over it and take the necessary steps to take care of your family, whether that’s going back to Church or taking inventory of your bucket list.
The truth is, lack of proper planning is likely causing most of this anxiety. You will sleep better at night if you know that your family and your estate is protected. It frees up your soul so that it’s able to enjoy the finite number of days you have left.