10 Important Reasons to Have a Will

Wills are more than just a legal safeguard. They can protect your loved ones, provide the necessary documentation for an estate, and help you manage your assets that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to divide up after death. Many people are hesitant to have a will because they are afraid of legal fees and the process of knowing about what their possessions should be done after death. It is often easier to avoid these unpleasant issues and thus remain ignorant of your situation.

However, you must know that wills are legally binding documents that ensure your final wishes are carried out. You should also know there are legal protections in place for your loved ones to ensure their rights are not denied in the event of your death.

The following are some of the main reasons you should have a will:

1. Recording your final wishes

Often the most important reason a person has a will written is to make sure their wishes are known after death. The greatest problem people encounter is that they forget or fail to understand their final wishes.  

When you have a will, your instructions on who should benefit from your wealth and property are recorded for the use and benefit of those to whom you wish it to be distributed.

This makes it very easy for both you and those dealing with your estate after your death to know what you want done with all of your belongings. This allows them to carry out the terms of any trust or estate plan set up by you that would otherwise not be possible without having one.

2. Assets can be protected from family conflict

If you have children or any other family members who would like to challenge your will, you can protect them from any potential legal actions brought against them by using a will. You can stipulate in the will that the property is to be taken from those who may interfere with making sure your wishes are carried out in order for all of your requests to be followed. This could even include the exclusion of a spouse from inheritance if their lifestyle or other actions should be in direct opposition to what you deem appropriate for your loved ones to have after your death.

3. Ensure the peaceful transfer of property

The process of transferring assets may be more complicated without a will. If a person dies without having set up a will, what is known as intestate succession takes place. This means that the property is automatically distributed to family members who are next in line to inherit. However, this only includes some of your heirs, leaving portions of your estate to be contested in court.

4. Provide detailed instructions for the care of your children

If you have children, you may want to ensure they will be taken care of appropriately once you pass away. This can be a difficult thing to do without a will in place, as there are specific laws in place that dictate their care. Without having a will, you may not be able to specify how much you would like from your assets and estate to go towards their needs. This could make them susceptible to being taken into the state's custody if someone does not want to take responsibility for them or pay for their expenses.

5. Lower the potential for family disputes.

Contested wills leave emotional turmoil for everyone, including the deceased. If you have a detailed list of how your assets should be distributed and what your wishes are for any dependents, it makes the process far easier. Additionally, it lowers the odds that family members will have disagreements over what they will receive after your death. Without a will in place, this can often lead to years of arguments and legal battles between relatives who don't agree over what is fair and just under the circumstances.   

6. A will save time and money

Caring for an estate without a will takes extra time and energy on the part of family members to ensure that all of their needs are being met appropriately. If you have a will, this is made much easier because the legal matters involved in doing so are also spelled out in clear terms. This makes it easier for those dealing with your estate to know what they should be doing without having to worry about whether or not their actions are legal under the law.

7. Provides security for heirs

A will provides safeguards for heirs that are not always necessary if you have no will at all. This lowers the chances of someone challenging your estate because there is no document that explicitly states who should receive what from your estate after your death. This eliminates the possibility that someone will attempt to deny your wishes by either withholding assets from their rightful owners or by trying to dispose of them in some way.

8. Prevents a court-appointed guardian from keeping your assets for themselves

Without a will, someone who is chosen by the court to care for your children could wind up using the money that should go towards their needs for their own personal pleasures. Once you have established guardianship through a will, the funds you leave behind are secured if someone misuses them. This means they can be used as they were intended without having to worry about someone taking advantage of that fact and wasting your wealth on unnecessary things.

9. Provide funeral instructions.

If you do not have any specific wishes regarding your funeral arrangements, a will can give you details on what your loved ones should do with your body once it has been released. You can also include instructions for the funeral director to follow in terms of the way the wake will be held, the music played, the reading of the will, and so on.

10. Peace of mind and closure

Through a will, you can provide some peace of mind and closure to yourself. Not having to worry about what will happen during your passing or how you should be treated after you die is a good feeling you may want to experience through the process of having a will made up. Additionally, you can be sure that your loved ones are cared for the way you would have wanted them to be, which is another good feeling.

Having a will in place is the only sure way to know that your wishes and desires are being followed through in the way you would like them to be. No one should ever have to suffer through the stress of not knowing how their loved ones will be cared for after their passing.

As such, it is essential to have a will drawn up that is as detailed as possible. Hiring a lawyer to help you with this process can be a good idea if you are looking for someone to help you understand the legal aspects of wills and estate planning.

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only. The provision of this material does not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the reader and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this newsletter are not a substitute for legal counsel. Do not take action in reliance on the contents of this material without seeking the advice of counsel.

The information contained in this blog may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. Accordingly, information in this blog is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete, and should not be relied upon as such. Readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.

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