Estate Planning Lawyer
For people who have few assets or property, estate planning may seem unnecessary. However, making out a will is still a good idea for most adults. If not for yourself, you should consider making out a will for the benefit of the loved ones you will leave behind. It will be difficult enough for them to deal with the grief and emotions that your death is likely to cause. If you have a will, it can help them avoid legal problems that can arise after a death and complicate matters even further.
The following is a list of some of the things that a will can do for your and your prospective heirs.
1. Shorten the Probate Process
Regardless of whether or not you have a will, your estate will have to go through the probate process. This is true of all estates, so there is no avoiding it. If you die intestate, i.e., without a valid will, the court will have to decide upon the division of your estate, which can take a long time. By making a will, you provide input into the administration of your estate which the court then uses as a guide. This can speed up the probate process considerably and allow your beneficiaries to receive their bequests more quickly.
2. Name a Guardian for Minor Children
If you have children who are not yet legally old enough to care for themselves, naming a guardian for them in your will is arguably an even more important consideration that distributing your physical property. Should both you and your children’s other parent die without a will, it will fall to the court to name someone to care for them. The court will often choose a guardian from among your family members, but without your input, it may place your children in the care of someone you would deem unsuitable. For your children’s sake, it is best to make a will that clearly names a guardian for your children, especially if you choose someone outside the family.
3. Choose Who Will and Will Not Inherit
When someone dies without a will, the remaining assets and property usually pass to the closest family members. However, you may wish to distribute your property differently than the court would do it. For example, you may have a poor relationship with siblings or close family members, or an ex-spouse whom you do not wish to inherit. In instances such as these, it is important not only to make out a will but to keep it up to date to reflect any major life changes that affect the distribution of property.
Making out a will is as much for your loved ones as it is for yourself.