A will is not something many people are comfortable talking or even thinking about because it also means they have to think about their death. Many people believe it is better not to think about the possibility of dying young or unexpectedly. Therefore, a lot of people avoid getting a will.
While a will might be an uncomfortable thing to take care of, it is necessary, and we would tell you why. In this article, you would learn what a will is precisely, and instances when you will need one.
Table of Contents
- What is a Will?
- Who Needs a Will?
- Why Do I Need a Will?
- Do I Need a Lawyer to Write a Will?
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document in which your wishes regarding the distribution of your properties, and the care of your minor children are outlined in the eventuality of your death.
A will can be prepared by an individual, but for it to be contest-proof, a will should be documented with the help of a Trust and Estate attorney. Also, having a witness when your will is created reduces the risk of the will being contested by family members, friends, or business associates.
The owner of a will is called a testator.
While a will cannot solve every problem that will arise in case of your death. It is an excellent way to make sure that those you care about are taken care of, and your properties are distributed appropriately.
Contents of a Will
A will is likely to contain details about the distribution of things you own, such as bank balances, properties, priced possessions, assets from business ventures, and investment portfolios.
With the use of a will, you can easily direct some of your properties to charities, specific organizations, or people outside your family tree.
However, some assets cannot be distributed to beneficiaries with the use of a will because they have their own legally binding instructions. Some of these assets include:
- Payouts from your life insurance policy (if you have one)
- Invested accounts designated as “transfer on death.”
Note: If the beneficiaries of the assets mentioned above die before the testator, the account is reverted to the estate. Since the estate part assets distributed by a will, it will be distributed according to the terms of the will.
However, in the absence of a will, it will be distributed by a probate court.
Note: If the asset left to the spouse of a testator is less than what is required by the law of the state, that part of the will can be dismissed, and the spouse will be given the necessary amount.
Who Needs a Will?
It can be easy to say that you don’t have enough assets and, therefore, do not need a will. Here are some of the categories of people that need a will:
For married people, a will is essential to have since your spouse is a significant part of your life. Generally, in most states, your spouse is likely to inherit your assets in the case of your death. However, a will ensures that your spouse gets precisely what you want him or her to get, regardless of state law.
Also, a will allows you to give part of your asset to someone other than your spouse in case of your death.
People with Kids
A will is essential for people with kids because, in the case of the death of both spouses, the state is obliged to assign your kids a guardian of its choosing. A will ensures that you choose who you want to raise your kids in the event of your death. This way, your kids don’t end up being raised by someone you don’t know or don’t like.
Also, if you want your children to inherit your assets after your spouse, you need to put that in writing.
Note: It is crucial for you to always update your will after the birth of a new child to ensure that you will is comprehensive and inclusive.
People with positive Net Worth?
This applies to people who are married and have kids and single people. If you have a positive net worth (what you own is significantly more than what you owe), then you need to get a will.
By having a will in place, you can be sure that your positive net worth can be distributed precisely how you want, and not by the government.
Young and Single With no Positive Net worth
If you are still young and single and have no positive net worth or asset of significant value, then there is no need to get a will for now. Don’t worry, it is not because no one cares. It is because you have no dependents and no assets to share yet.
Why Do I Need a Will?
If you are married, have kids, and have any form of assets that can be shared among your family members or by the state, then you need a will. You need a will to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, and your kids get the guardian stated by you.
Without a will, your asset is likely to be shared by family members (which can be messy). Or even worse, by the state.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Write a Will?
These days a will can be written online on several platforms that offer that kind of service. An online type of will is okay to have if you don’t have a lot of assets, and your will is pretty straight forward. However, an online will is more liable to contestation.
However, if you have a complicated portfolio of assets, business ventures, investment, and kids from multiple marriages, it is essential to consult an estate attorney who might also work in conjunction with a certified public accountant (CPA).
Working with a legal representative when creating your
Now that you know why you need a will and when you need a will, you can take the necessary steps to create a will that reflects your desires. Also, remember to always update your will whenever something significant happens in your life.
Note: Let your family members know where to get your will from in the event of your death. It makes no sense to have a will that no one knows about. If you have the money, you can hire a family lawyer to help write your will, and read it in case of your death.