If you want to legally protect your children, spouse, and assets, and make sure your things are handled and distributed properly after you have passed away, having a will is extremely important. Although wills can get very specific in what is determined after you have passed, here are some of the more general reasons why you need to get a will as soon as possible.
Decide who will take care of your children
If you have children who are under the age of 18 and you pass away suddenly while not having a will, the court will choose who gets to take care of your children among your family or an appointed guardian. Having a will allows you to choose who you would trust to raise your children.
Properly distribute your estate
Many fights have risen after a person in their family has passed away without a will. When you don’t determine how your estate will be distributed, it is basically a free-for-all for your surviving family members. Having a will is a legally-binding contract that lets you control how your estate is distributed so everyone is aware of what they are inheriting.
Avoid an extended probate process
All estates must go through a probate process whether you have a will or not. If you have a will, the process will go a lot faster since the court will know how you want your estate divided. If you don’t have a will, it’s up to the judgement of the court to administer and distribute your estate without your consent, which may cause long delays.
Customize your will whenever you want
While you are alive, you can change your will if anything comes up like a birth, death, or divorce. You can also disinherit individuals out of your will if you need to because of a falling out with a beneficiary or family member. If you don’t have a will, your estate could find its way into the hands of somebody you don’t want to have it.
Lower estate taxes
Having a will allows you to minimize your estate taxes and the value of what is distributed from your estate, whether to family members or charity, will lower the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.
Donation and gifting options
If you have a favourite charity you have been donating to through your life, you can set up a way to donate or gift a portion of your estate after you have passed away. Gifts up to $13,000 are exempt from estate tax, which will increase the value of your estate meaning your heirs will get more out of your estate. Gift tax exclusions can change from year to year, so make sure you are always up to date on the laws and how it works.
If you are looking to write a will but don’t know where to start, let the experienced team at The Knee Law Firm, Ltd. be your guide. We can help you properly write a will to ensure that your estate is accounted for and distributed to the people you trust the most.