Last will and testaments are not just something that you hear and see in movies — it’s something that you also need to do so yourself. Each state has its own varying rules regarding estate planning laws, but there is one intersection between them. If you do not have a Last Will and Testament, then your belongings will undergo a state of intestacy, wherein the Government will ultimately take over your possessions and legacies, distributing your assets and estate properties to the mainstream of your respective state.
Making a will is truly one way to ensure that your belongings will exactly go where you want them to because if you do not have one, half of it automatically goes to your family and a half to the government — a vile circumstance to keep in mind for you to avoid intestacy. Taking the time to plan out a will and finding respectable estate planning attorneys that will help tie loose ends after your death will definitely help save your loved ones from unnecessary and unwanted problems.
Creating a will may seem like a task that requires no sense of urgency, but is truly important to make sure that your possessions will fall into places where you meant they would be, no matter how able-bodied, young, or healthy you are at the moment because deaths are horrendously unpredictable. Dying without a will is one way to add stress to your family when you eventually die because it will go through a probate process wherein the court will take control of your property.
They will be in charge of making sure that your debts and taxes are paid in full, and will be in control of naming a representative that will ensure the distribution of your assets, which would most likely be your spouse. However, when certain ex-spouses and odd relatives are added into the mix, the situation may become even more complicated than it already is.
When this happens, conflicts may arise between the members of your family as you do not have any clear instructions of who gets how much. It generally depends on each state on how your possessions will be distributed when you do not have a will but the top line of succession would be:
- Spouse. In unexpected circumstances that you would die, your spouse will be the first in line to gain half of your possessions if you are legally married, and when you both own the properties.
- Children. When you and your spouse both die and your children are left behind, the court will decide a guardian for them when they are still under the legal age of 18. When you have no control over where your children will fall under or which relative would be their guardian, this could be an unfortunate and problematic circumstance for them as they could be assigned to a relative you particularly dislike or had conflicts with.
- Parents. If you are not married and do not have kids, then your possessions would most likely fall under your parents’ hands. If you have any existing assets, those would be used to pay off any loans you have, and the remaining will be given to your parents. In cases wherein one of the parents have already died, then your assets will be distributed among your lone parent and siblings if you have any or even if you were not on good terms with them. If you have a pet, then your parents will have full control of what to do with it.
Protecting your business
Having a Last Will and Testament ensures that everything you worked hard for in your business will not fall into vain and selfish endeavors, as you would specifically appoint someone to inherit it. Appointing your business to the right heir or leaving it legally to your co-owners will cement your business’s reputation and success even after your death. If you want your business to last up to the next generations to come, especially when it is family-owned, then making a will is definitely one way to ensure that security to last.
If you have advocacies close to your heart and wouldn’t mind taking a chunk off your money for them after you die, then having a legal will that would help them out is definitely one way to make sure that your assets fall into a good cause. Your possessions are not only valid for your family, friends, and children’s inheritance, but it could also uphold your altruism even after your death. It is a great way to give back to the community, may it be in life or in death.
Make it less difficult for your family
Losing a loved one is definitely not a situation you would dream of getting into. Emotions will be all over the place, and haggling with lawyers and arguing with your family is the last thing you would want them to deal with. By creating your will, you will be in control, and you will be able to specifically pinpoint the people or organizations you want to be as your beneficiaries, and your final requests will be legally respected and pursued.
One way or another, intestacy is not the ideal path of your possessions and legacies after your death. It’s time to create a will not only for yourself but for your loved ones, too.