A Will is a simple estate planning tool that allows you to have control over what happens with your assets after you pass away. Without it, your estate administration is determined by the laws of the state you live in, and they don’t know you or what you want.
Not a millionaire? Me neither, but I still have a Will, and so do many other people! Estate planning is not only for the wealthy! If you own any of the following things: a vehicle, a bank account, real estate, antiques, or investment accounts, just to name a few, then you want to have a Will at the very least, and maybe even a Revocable Trust.
If you have a Will, your assets will go through the Probate process, but you decide who gets your assets, who is in charge of taking care of your estate, who you want as the Guardian over your minor children, and who you don’t want to get your assets, if any. If you don’t have a Will, then you don’t get to decide any of those things. A Revocable Trust is a way to transfer your assets on death without probate while remaining in control of those assets during your life.
Are you in a long term relationship but you’re not married? If you don’t have a Will, your partner won’t get any of your assets. If you have a Will, you can change it during your life if the relationship changes. You remain in control of your assets, yet have planned for taking care of loved ones when you are no longer here.
If you don’t have many living relatives, nor a partner, you can designate your favorite charity or a friend as your beneficiary; if you don’t have a Will, your assets might end up going to the State.
Getting a Will is a quick, easy, and painless way to provide you with peace of mind that your wishes are going to be carried out when you pass away.
Andrea Nelson is an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan who focuses her practice in the area of estate planning, including wills, trusts, health and financial powers of attorney, as well as trust and estate administration. Attorney Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.