Why You Should Have a Will
More than half of adults in the United States do not have a will, but it is a vital estate planning tool that cannot be overlooked. Without a will, several key issues, such as who becomes guardian of your minor children, who receives your property and who inherits your monetary assets, will be left up to the court system upon your passing. There is also a misconception that wills are only for those who are wealthy and will be leaving many assets behind. No matter how many or how few assets you have, everyone benefits from having a will in place to ensure your wishes are carried out correctly.
Creating a Will
Creating a will does not have to be a complex affair. The most important components of a will are:
The appointment of a guardian to care for your minor children,
the appointment of a trusted executor who will ensure the decisions you make within your will are followed, and
the distribution of property and assets to family, friends, charitable organizations or any other individuals whom you wish to have as beneficiaries (recipients of property or assets).
Be sure to include within your will the names, addresses, birth dates and contact information for any beneficiaries, minor children, family members, executors or guardians included within the will. Along with your will, you will want to keep records of any outstanding debts you have (including student loans, credit card debt, mortgages, car loans, etc.) and records of the assets you own. This may include real estate, savings accounts, your investment portfolio, life insurance policies, pension and retirement accounts, ownership in a business or any other valuable personal property.
When to Review and Update Your Will
It is also important to periodically review and update your will as life changes occur, including marriage, divorce or remarriage; the birth or adoption of children; the passing of a beneficiary, executor or guardian; the purchase of real estate or other valuable property and more. Keep records of these life changes with your will and other estate planning documents.
Enlisting the Help of an Estate Planning Attorney
While it is possible to create a will with the help of a variety of online programs, turning to the assistance of a reputable estate planning attorney can help to ensure you have accounted for all possibilities and that the probate process, which is the process almost all estates go through after the owner has passed away, goes smoothly in compliance with your wishes. Estate planning attorneys are also valuable to help with the establishment of trusts, advanced healthcare directives and more. If you would like to create a will or have questions about creating a will, the probate process or other estate planning issues, contact Alexander A. Hassani of Hassani, Focas & Fifer, P.A. today.