When you are putting together an estate plan, one of the most important things to do is to establish a thorough will. A will helps you protect yourself and your children (if they’re minors). It can also help you provide information on your wishes for a burial or funeral.
Wills give you the opportunity to discuss charitable giving and how you’d like assets to be passed on. With an unambiguous and thorough will, your estate can be administered more clearly with your intentions and wishes in mind.
The minimum for an estate plan is your will
In any estate plan, the least you should have is a will. This legal document goes over your wishes regarding how you’d like your property to be distributed or how you’d like your young children to be cared for if you pass away.
When someone dies without a will, they’re said to have died intestate. What that means is that the state laws for distributing their estate come into play, and their wishes are disregarded because they’re unknown. To avoid this, you need to have a basic last will and testament that goes over your wishes for your funeral, burial, guardianship, and other topics.
What happens if you don’t have a will when you die?
If no will is in place, your loved ones may spend more time and money trying to handle the administration of your estate. On top of that, probate will occur, which is a court process that can take many months or longer. In probate, a judge goes through the estate and determines how it should be distributed according to the law. With a will, probate is minimal or completely unnecessary.
With a good will, you make your wishes clear
A good will helps you be clear about your wishes. You can state who you’d like to have receive certain assets or state that you’d like to donate your assets to a charity of your choice.
Your heirs will be able to get the assets you want to leave to them sooner with a will in place, so consider setting one up to make sure your decisions can be carried out once you pass.