Most people do not think about preparing a will or what would happen to their family in the event of their untimely death. Unfortunately, there are nearly 2.5 million deaths in America every single year, and this means that numerous people pass on without ever really expecting it. What makes this even more disheartening is the fact that statistics show that half of Americans with children don't even have a prepared will. This is simply unacceptable, but once an individual knows all of the benefits of having a legally binding will, it's likely that they won't hesitate much longer in creating one.
1. Ensures Distribution of Assets
Maybe the biggest benefit of having a will is ensuring proper distribution of a person's assets. After an individual dies, there could be extended legal battles over who is entitled to what share of the estate that's left behind. A will prevents this. Preparing a will is especially important for those in blended families who may have former spouses or children from previous marriages.
Additionally, this helps ensure that those who wouldn't normally receive inheritances will. If a person has a favorite charity, for instance, the only way to ensure that anything is left to it is by having a prepared will.
2. Reduces Future Legal Costs
Regardless of what a person leaves behind, there is going to be a legal process that takes place and eventually settles an estate. Without a will, this process can be long and drawn out. Allowing the courts to decide who gets what can become quite costly, and this can cut into a person's estate and what they leave their loved ones. A will can expedite this process so that everyone can avoid stressful legal battles.
3. Allows for Choice of Executors
A will also allows a person to choose who will execute their state after their demise. This person will handle all debts and ensure that what's left behind is properly divided amongst the right people. It's often a good idea to have the same attorney who drafted the will take on the role of executor. Estate planning attorneys such as Hofland & Tomsheck, and those who handle preparing a will are adept at taking care of these issues.
There are, of course, those who think they can handle the will and choose an executor without involving an attorney. This, however, can turn into a costly mistake. If a will isn't properly drafted, it may not be legally binding. If this occurs, it's as good as not having a will at all. Without a legal professional who can appropriately draft a will, the legal battles after a person's death can be extensive.
4. Enables Funeral Wishes Known
A person can also specify their funeral wishes when preparing a will. This will take an immense amount of stress off of their loved ones. Funeral planning can be a very disheartening experience, but if a person leaves behind their wishes, their loved ones can just ensure that they're properly met without having to make the difficult decisions themselves.
5. Handles Issues of Child Custody
Custodial issues are another very important part of a will. In a perfect world, children would just be left with a person's spouse. Unfortunately, since half of all marriages end in divorce, this may not be appropriate. Additionally, the other parent may have already died in the past. Either way, the issue of custody will come up. If a person doesn't specify who they want to care for their children, the courts will make that decision for them.
Creating a will is undoubtedly a disheartening process; it makes a person admit to their own mortality. This slight feeling of discomfort, however, is well worth the benefits that come along with having a will. A person who passes on won't get to see the benefits of having a will play out in front of them, but they will be able to sleep comfortably while they're still here knowing that their family will be cared for.
Lisa Coleman shares some important reasons why a person should consider preparing a will for their own lives.
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