If you think that wills are only necessary if you are wealthy, you may need to take a closer look at the many benefits of a will. A will provides you with a legal way to ensure that your wishes are protected after your passing. While this is most commonly associated with bequeathing cash, real estate and other assets to family members after passing, there are many other reasons to set up a will and dictate your final wishes.
Custody of Dependents
If you have children, you should schedule an appointment with a wills and estates lawyer as soon as possible. After you pass away, your children may be placed in foster care until their custody is sorted out if your will does not provide clear instructions. In some cases, children are caught up in a custody battle, which places extreme stress on all involved. Keep in mind that you can also establish care for other dependents as well, such as special needs individuals who you currently care for.
Financial Care for Dependents
If you are financially responsible for children or other dependents, you may have a life insurance policy with your selected custodian as the primary beneficiary. Your intent may be for the custodian to use proceeds to care for the children, but you may use your will to establish specific guidelines. For example, some of the proceeds may need to be set aside to pay for college educations. You may even establish a trust to ensure that your wishes related to their financial well-being are carried out.
Conveyance of Assets
It is dangerous to assume that your financial assets will pass directly to your next of kin or will be dispersed to various family members without a will. A will enables you to specifically state which assets will be left to each individual. A will eliminates disagreement and reduces the chance of legal battles related to your assets. It also ensures that your belongings are conveyed according to your wishes rather than left up to the court’s decision.
Conveyance to Non-Family Members
Generally, individuals who you are not legally bound to, such as immediate family members through blood or marriage, have no claim on your assets. However, you may prefer to leave some or all of your assets to a non-family member. This may be a life partner, a best friend or even a charitable organization.
While some people have ample notice that death is pending, others pass away suddenly regardless of age or the condition of their health. If you have any assets or dependents, you need to contact a wills and estates lawyer for assistance with your will as soon as possible.
Addy Reeds is a freelance writer from Eugene, Oregon. She discovered her passion for journalism while attending the University of Oregon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @addyreeds1; https://www.facebook.com/addy.reeds