Do you really need a will?
The answer to this simple question is ABSOLUTELY!
While a will may be one of the most important legal documents that a person executes during his lifetime, many individuals simply don't think that it is important to do so, or do not take the time to have one prepared. In fact, many attorneys have never taken the time to prepare their own wills.
Others who have wills prepared for themselves are often under the impression that all that they need is a "simple will". However, for most people, and particularly those individuals who have children, particularly disabled children, it is absolutely critical that they have a will, and not just a "simple will". Why?
- Without a will, state law will determine to whom an individual's property and assets are passed at his or her death, rather than having the wishes of the individual followed.
- For parents with minor children, without a will, the appointment of a tutor or guardian for such children will be made by a judge who works for the state, rather than in accordance with the parents' wishes.
- Without a will, an individual may be severely restricted in his or her ability to take advantage of federal and state estate tax and inheritance tax laws, and may cause a greater portion of the estate to be subject to taxation, leaving less property to be passed along to heirs.
- Without a will, a parent cannot establish a trust for a child who may lack the wisdom, maturity, and experience to properly handle and manage an inheritance in the event that he or she suddenly were placed in possession of property without reasonable controls on how such property is managed.
- Without a will, a person cannot designate specific items of property to be handed down to particular individuals.
- Without a will, an individual cannot designate a person to serve as executor of the estate, and may force the individual that is ultimately appointed by the court to have to seek court approval for most actions taken during the pendancy of the succession.
- For most persons, it is important that they not only prepare a will to address the issues described above as well as others, but that they have the will prepared by an attorney experienced in drafting wills. While most people seem to think that all that they may need is a "simple will", the fact of the matter is that if they have children, and particularly disabled children, a simple will is inadequate to address their needs.
DISCLAIMER: This website has been prepared for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to, and does not, constitute legal advice.
Use of these materials does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship.