Laws regarding estate planning and an individual’s last will and testament vary by state. Failure to make a will is a plan to fail. In the absence of a person’s will, his or her state government will make decisions about distribution of assets and the needs of children.
Essentially, this means the court will divvy the deceased’s belongings between a spouse, relatives, and children. The decision about which heirs receive what belongs to the individual as long as he or she makes a will. Five of the best reasons to make a last will and testament include:
- Appointment of Children, Elder and Pet’s Guardians
Accidents sometimes claim the lives of parents with children. If a father or mother dies without leaving a last will and testament, state government decides who will take care of them. Because parents know their children best, it is important for your will to identify the right future guardian for children. Foster care is avoidable by executing a will now.
Similarly, elder parents and relatives cared for by you may have few financial assets to fund an independent lifestyle. Without making financial and guardianship decisions for an older family member in the last will and testament now, your elder may face difficult times ahead. Law firms like the Dore Law Group assist individuals and families in need of estate planning services.
Pets are also family members. A long-lived pet, such as a macaw, cockatoo, and other avian, can live on long past his or her best friend’s demise. It’s important to designate your pet’s new home and flock mates. It may also be important to earmark funds for the future care and feeding of your pet. Whatever you do, don’t leave it to your state government to decide where and how Polly will live. In some cases, the court may decide it’s in the pet’s best interest to live at the zoo.
- Protection of a Business
The last will and testament, along with a living trust, is an effective way to pass a business along to co-owners and/or heirs. Estate planning failures result in failures to pass along family-owned enterprises to the next generation about seventy percent of the time. This result is completely avoidable by executing your will.
- Asset Distribution
You and only you should decide upon which family members receive what assets. As long as an executed last will and testament is in place, give favorite collectibles, securities, real property, classic cars or a jewelry collection to the proper recipient. If left to the state to decide, cherished friends may never receive the last gifts you intend to share. Ensure that loved ones receive all that you want them to receive in memory of you.
- Prevent Family Feuds
Without a last will and testament, family members are likely to squabble about how your assets should be distributed. Legal fights and broken communications between those you leave behind can amplify death’s sadness. Make decisions about these matters instead, and keep family members properly focused on each other as they mourn.
- Charitable Donations
Perhaps a college, university, or charitable cause is very important to you. You fund raise and remind everyone to give to one or more charitable organizations regularly. If you die without including the charitable organization in your will, your cause may or may not receive funding from heirs. Don’t risk it. Make sure your will includes funding or distribution of assets to a favorite charitable organization.
Why You Must Make a Last Will and Testament
No one wants to think about death, but considering those you leave behind in your will embraces life. There is no reasonable excuse for not making a will. Only you can decide how much of your estate to give to the government. Only you can decide what music will play in the background at a celebration of your life ceremony.
This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.