A will, or a last will and testament, can do so much good for your loved ones, but only if you have one executed before your death. A desire to do a will before your death will not help your loved ones at all. While a will is only part of a complete estate plan, it is an important one.
Here are my top 4 reasons to have a will:
Reason #1: Control
A will allows you to control the division of your property upon your death. You get to have the last word one last time. Isn't that great?! Without a will, your buddies at the legislature will have the last word as the probate court will look to the laws of intestate succession to decide who gets your stuff.
I don't know about you, but I'd be rolling over in my grave if I knew an estranged family member or someone I had little or no relationship with had legal ownership of my stuff. A will is especially important for unmarried couples or anyone who would like to give property to friends or charities. Without a will, your boyfriend/girlfriend, friends, or charities will receive nothing.
Reason #2: Conflict Avoidance
Conflict avoidance. A will can prevent family squabbles over your property. You can specify who gets what. Even if you think you don't have anything valuable to fight for, think again.
Value doesn't only mean cash value, it can mean sentimental value. Who will get your ukulele? Who will get grandma's ring? Who will get the family photo albums? A will can prevent unnecessary trouble and bad blood.
Reason #3: Guardianship for Minor Children
A will is the proper place to nominate a guardian for your minor children. You might think that if you die, your spouse will be left to care for your children, but what if he/she isn't? Your spouse could die with you or soon thereafter. If you both were to die, who would take care of your children? Would they end up in foster care? Perhaps, a family member will want to care for your children, but would you want that person to do so? Even if you wouldn't want that person to have your children, he/she can petition the court for guardianship.
On the other hand, assuming you would want that person to be your children's guardian. He/she would have to petition the court and this would entail court costs, attorney fees, time, and possible additional trauma for your children. Will the court confirm the guardian or will your children become wards of the state? Why take the chance?
Reason #4: Executor or Personal Representative
Executor or personal representative. A will allows you to name a personal representative. The personal representative is responsible for wrapping up your affairs including paying debts, filing taxes, locating property, locating heirs, distributing property, etc.
This is a very important role and you should choose someone responsible and willing to take on the task while you can. Otherwise, the court will appoint someone for you, which could be one of your creditors.
The Bottom Line: Create a Will to Protect Your Legacy and Save Your Loved Ones From Stress
Contact Keoni - A Trusted Honolulu Estate Planning Lawyer
Don't let your legacy be sullied by heartache and strife. Create a will today to spare your loved ones the added grief that will surely come if you die without one. Contact our office today to get started.
To read more about guardianship for minor children:
This article is a service of the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, an estate planning law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by contacting our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
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