We are pretty sure that if you have some sort of property or assets then you would understand the importance of having a will. It is something that provides an opportunity for you to ensure that your assets along with the property that you have to pass on to the people and organizations that wish. In order to make sure that this happens, there is a requirement for you to have a trust or will in place. Please don’t forget that if you have a will and not a trust then the Will shall be subject to probate. If you wish to have any say or control over who inherits your property or assets then there is no way around it, a Will or Trust is a must.
If you wish to provide for your loved ones and have specific people in mind that you intend to pass your assets to estate planning is a must. Whether it be your children, family members, friends or a charity of your liking you must plan for this while you are alive. In the event that you pass without a proper estate plan meaning without a Will or Trust then it comes down to the intestacy laws of your state and the courts to appoint your assets.
Please keep in mind as it is very important that without a proper estate plan your assets might end up in the hands of people that you had no intention of leaving them to. Here we are going to provide some details and a better understanding on the topic and importance of having a properly executed Will.
What Is The Use Of A Will?
In order to understand the importance of having a Will you must first understand and use of a Will and what happens if you don’t have one when you pass. A will would summarize your wishes and intent for pass through of your assets to those you intend to leave them to. When someone wishes to take control of who inherits their belongings a Will must be created. In most states if a person passes without a Will or trust then it is up to the courts to distributed assets and they do so according to the intestacy laws of the state the deceased has passed in. This is not to say that if you pass on vacation in Italy while residing in New York your estate is subject to the laws in Italy. The laws that will be followed are those of the state that you are a resident of. Intestacy laws typically will leave your assets to the closest living relatives be it your spouse and children, parents, aunts and uncles or cousins.
If you create a Will you may also want to consider appointing an executer in your Will. An executor is the person of your choosing who will be tasked with Probating your Will and distributing your assets according to your wishes. There is also room in the Will to name a person to act as a secondary executor in the event the original person is unwilling or unable to take on the duties. Having a Will is also important is this is the legal document in which you can appoint a legal guardian in your stead to oversee you assets for the benefit of your minor children and act as there caregiver and guardian in your stead. It is important to remember that a Will may not be tax efficient and setting up a trust can ensure that your loved ones get more of your assets versus them getting chipped away at by taxes. The will would have the last decisions made by the person who is deceased about the property that they have in the best way that they see fit. As you can see having a Will is quite important.
What Happens In Case There Isn’t A Will
If a person neglects estate planning and passes without a Will then their estate will be subject to an administrative proceeding. The administrative proceeding is similar in nature to Probate however it is done in accordance to the intestacy laws in which they resided. Unlike having a Will in this case distribution of assets and property is not in accordance with the deceased wishes but rather state law and closest living relatives. For example in the state of New York if a person passes leaving behind a spouse and two children then the spouse would receive fifty percent of the estate and the two children would get twenty five percent each. Even though this seems fine and perhaps what the deceased would have liked anyways it’s still nice to have a choice. The above is an ideal scenario as some people pass and are only survived by cousins and perhaps you don’t wish one of your cousins to receive your assets as they were distant to you and never around.
When it comes to estate planning it is important to have all your legal documents in place. If you want to ensure that the intended person receives your hard-earned belongings, then you can’t go without a proper estate plan. Please keep in mind that just having a Will might not be your best option as a Will is subject to probate which can be a timely and costly process and leaves room for family disputes and contesting. Take advantage and plan, seek guidance from an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure your T’s are crossed and your I’s are dotted. A will which isn’t properly executed might not be admissible. Call us today for a free consultation and see how you can benefit from a proper estate plan.