Every homeowner with assets should plan to make a will. If you think it seems a little morbid, move on from that thought. It is the kindest and most considerate gesture you can make for your relatives and friends and whomever you choose to benefit with the proceeds of your assets when you are gone. Planning now while you are able means there is less tension and decision making later on when you are gone. It is a wise thing to do, and here are some details on why.
What is a Will and Why You Need One
A will is a legal document that sets and confirms your wishes after death. These include the handling or transfer of properties and assets and the care of minor children. If you should die before you’ve set a will, your wishes may not be carried out. This is particularly important if you are a homeowner with assets. In the case of your children, this can cause them hardships as they will have to handle your last affairs.
There is no document that can truly cover all the issues that may arise after death. However, depending on the type of will you set, the likelihood of your last will being questioned or fought is significantly lower.
What You Need to Know
One key portion of the will is how your belongings should be distributed after your passing. If you have a business, it will tell others exactly who it should be given to and win. This is the same for property, bank accounts, and other belongings. If you’d like your assets to go to charity, this can also be stated in your will. When you decide on making a will, it is best to have a trusts and estates attorney prepare the documents and confirm the details. There are also different types of wills.
Types of Wills
The most well-known type is what’s called a testamentary will. Essentially, you prepare the will and then sign it in front of witnesses. It is the most effective measure to assure that there are no challenges from family and business associates and prevents possible strife between these parties. It will help to ensure that as a homeowner with assets you distribute your property as you want once you are gone. There are, of course, other types that you may want to consider.
- Holographic wills – these are wills written by the testator (author). These wills often have validity questioned. However, they are still useful to some degree in the event that the testator is in a life or death situation and no witnesses are available. If it can be proved that the author was in their right mind and that it was written by them, then the will can stand.
- Oral wills – these are spoken in the presence of witnesses. The court does not recognize these without additional written records (in most cases).
- Mutual wills – this type of will is created by a committed couple. Just as it sounds, if one party should die before the other, the remaining partner is bound by the terms of the mutual will. This prevents issues with new spouses and additional children.
Why You Need One
Much of the population believe that wills are only something the wealthy have. However, where possible, all persons should create a will to make a life for family and friends easier once they pass. There are a lot of benefits to having a will. Some of them include:
- Assets – you can be clear about who gets what, when, and how much.
- Challenge prevention – you can keep your assets out of the reach of persons you don’t wish to have.
- Protect your children – you can give instruction on who is to keep your children rather than allowing the courts to decide.
- Save time – your heirs will be able to have access to your assets quicker and with less hassle.
- Clear on other wishes – if you’d like to donate some of your assets to charity or for them to be used for specific purposes, it can be clearly outlined.
For a homeowner with assets, what Happens Without a Will?
Should you die without a will, then the state will handle your affairs? This will be done on a set formula or pattern. This can have negative effects on your surviving family.
The split usually gives half to your spouse and half to your children. This can mean that family homes and other assets may have to be sold or divided. If this is the case, your spouse may suffer as their quality of life can significantly decrease. In the case of your children being minors, the state will appoint a sort of guardian to protect their interests.
You may also have estate tax issues. It is best to have a lawyer assist you with setting a proper will in place to avoid these issues for your family.
Now that you’ve gotten the basics, it is a good idea to start or create your will if you don’t already have one. Once the documents are completed, you’ll want to validate them. A will isn’t set in stone prior to your passing. Life changes and you may need to make changes to your will, this is possible. It’s actually a good idea to make changes to your will as things in your life shift. This means that when you die, you will be updated with your life at the moment of your passing.