The importance of having a will
Why don’t you have a will?
Many adults do not have a will. Some are planning to make one. Some don’t think this is important.
Dying without a will does not affect you. It may affect your family and close friends in ways that you do not anticipate.
States differ as to intestacy laws, which govern the estates of people who die without having a will. Without a will, your spouse may not inherit all of your property. Without a will, a domestic partner may have no claim to your estate. This means that they may lose their home if it was owned by you, as well as financial assets owned by you which they depended on for necessities.
Reasons given for not having a will include:
- Too expensive
- Overwhelming to take this step
- Too complicated making arrangements for mixed family situations
- Don’t need one
- Not sick or dying so it’s not necessary yet
- Don’t have a large enough estate to need one
- Don’t have time
Taking the time to make a will can save a lot of anguish to those you leave behind, even if you have what you consider a small estate. Mixed family situations need special attention in estate planning, regarding fairness, a smooth transition for your spouse, and avoidance of fighting over personal property which came from one family or the other.
It is best not to wait until you are sick and perhaps not thinking as clearly as usual to prepare a will. As we all know, in some instances death is unexpected and there is no time.
It is important to have your will prepared by an attorney in the state where you live to ensure that it is properly signed and witnessed.
And remember that any will may be revoked and replaced with an updated version should your circumstances change. It is the will you have last written at the time you pass away that should control the administration of your estate.