You might wonder if it is worth it to make out a last will and testament. Some people who have small estates or modest wealth might feel they can get by without one. However, a will is an important document to have, and not just because it deals with who will receive your property.
Writing out a will allows you to have your say regarding a number of issues that will require resolution following your death. Forbes describes four different ways that composing your will may be of benefit to you and your loved ones.
If you die without a will, you die intestate, meaning a court will determine who gets your property. Even if you have children or a spouse, it is still possible that a court may award your property to another person who lays claim to your estate, such as an ex-spouse. With a will, you can name specific heirs who will receive your assets.
Name guardians for your children
If you have children, you should consider who will take care of them if you and your spouse die before your children become legal adults. Even if you have family members such as a sibling who could take care of your offspring, you want to establish who should take legal guardianship over your children in your will so you can have the peace of mind of knowing the right person will care for your loved ones.
Describe the terms of inheritance
A will also gives you the chance to spell out how your heirs shall receive their inheritance. You may dictate that your assets will go into a trust if you die while your children are still minors. The trust will grant your children their inheritance when they reach adult age.
Also, you might stagger an inheritance based upon life milestones. If you do not want your children to receive a lot of money until they get a job or graduate from college, you may establish these terms in your will as benchmarks for receiving the money.
Avoid paying excessive estate taxes
Depending on the size and complexity of your estate, you may find out that the government will levy estate taxes after you die. If you draft a will in the proper fashion, you may be able to cut down on the amount of taxes your estate must pay while still giving your heirs the inheritance they deserve.