I am not dying: Why should I Write up My Will

A will is a legal document in which you specify what should happen in the event you die.  Common components contained within a will are the distribution of assets, funeral instructions, and who gains guardianship of your children when you can no longer care for them.  Your will is not revocable after you die.  The document can name your beneficiaries, or those you will receive what assets when you pass away, nominate someone to care for your children until they are eighteen years of age, and nominate either a person or institution who will be responsible for collecting and managing your assets and pay any debts, expenses, or taxes due at the time of your death.  The executor will also distribute the assets according to your will and should be considered carefully because there are significant responsibilities involved in the job.  Will is a smaller part of the larger process of planning your estate.  You should contact a lawyer in order to fully plan your estate. Statman, Harris, Eyrich LLC are an excellent firm to consider when looking for a lawyer to help with the legalities involved in writing a will, planning your estate, or considering setting up a trust instead.

I Write up My Will

            It is important to note that a will is not going to cover every item that you own.  The will only pertains to assets titled in your name when you die and that does not already contain a designated beneficiary.  Assets not included in your will include numerous things.  The cash obtained from a life insurance policy is one such item because this money is predesignated through a form filed with your insurance company.  Any asset held in a retirement plan are also transferred to whoever was named as the beneficiary of your plan.  If you have a joint ownerships of an item (real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, etc.), the surviving joint owner will gain ownership when you die.  There are certain securities and brokerage accounts that include a previously selected beneficiary to receive all assets within the account when one of the account owners die.  If you are married or in a registered domestic partnership, your significant other holds the title of community property assets when you die.  Living trusts are distributed according to the specifications set up within the trust, regardless of any other directions contained within your will.  If you or your partner contain community property together, then your half of the property goes to the survivor of the relationship upon your death.

            Typically, if you pass away before writing a will, the law will decide how things should be divided among family members. Typically, the next of kin is awarded executor and receives all assets to keep or give out as they wish.  If you die without a will in place, you have no say in how things will be divided after you die.  This can cause problems because it can drive a wedge between family members as they fight for significant memorabilia that means a lot to everyone. Anger is one of the stages of grief, and this can prove to be problematic as your loved ones are trying to heal and move on.  They have to make all decisions and try and decide what it is you would have wanted and the best way to divide everything up.  When you contain a will, it makes the process a lot easier on those left behind, because all they have to do is follow out the instructions that you left behind.

            The primary purpose of writing up a will is to decide who gets what when you pass away.  If a person dies without a will, the state will typically gain responsibility for who receives what, and your wishes will be decreased along with what your family needs.  Debts are paid first and then the remaining assets are divided among any living children and surviving partner.  If the state cannot find a spouse or child to receive the assets, the state will award assets to any blood relative they determine should have it.  Wills cannot do everything, and because of this it is essential to consult with an attorney as you draft the document.  You want to make sure that your wishes are followed after you pass away.  A lawyer can specifically tell you what can and cannot be contained within a will and what should be there that isn’t.  Everyone dies.  It’s a crucial part of the life cycle.  Everyone will eventually pass away, and even though thinking about it can be painful, not thinking about it can be worse for those left behind.  Seeking out an attorney as you begin planning for what should happen after your death can ensure that things happen as you see fit and that everyone is properly cared for.