There are many reasons why you should have a Will in place. As noted in prior posts, estate planning is not only for the wealthy. A properly drafted, enforceable Will is important for anyone who: is married, has children, OR has any assets. Here are four of the best reasons to have a Will in place, now.
Because YOU want to decide how to distribute your assets. You can decide now who will get what when you die, and it is important to remember that you may change or update your Will if your life circumstances change.
2) Your children
A Will allows you to make an informed decision about who should take care of your minor children. Absent a Will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian. Having a Will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children and to make sure it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.
Dying intestate can be expensive. Maybe not for you, because you won’t be around, but it is an extremely expensive and painful process for everyone else you care about. A substantial portion of your hard work and savings will go towards paying probate court and attorneys’ fees, rather than to your spouse, children, and other loved ones, while everyone sorts out the mess you left behind.
4) State Law
You may not know this, but if you die without a Will, state “intestate” law will determine who gets what. For example, in CT, your spouse gets the first $100,000, and then your spouse and children would each receive 50 percent of any remainder; therefore, your 19 year-old may be receiving a huge windfall. Or if you don’t have children, your biological parents may receive a huge windfall, even if they don’t need it and even if they are not active in your life.
Joseph E. Fournier is an Attorney and a CPA who has more than twenty years of experience in a variety of business legal matters, including start-ups and company formations, drafting shareholder and operating agreements, contracts, employment law, commercial litigation, tax planning and audit defense, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). He also handles estate planning matters, such as business succession planning, wills, trusts, and probate.