As you get older different things become more important than at other times in your life. If you are lucky enough to have close family, children or grandchildren, the idea of providing for them and helping them on their way is something that increases day by day.
Having peace of mind that loved ones will be looked after when you are no longer around to do things yourself can be a valuable thing to have, and there are some easy ways to get it.
Having life insurance is a great way to make sure that there is a financial buffer for those that are left behind. It means that at a difficult time your loved ones won’t have to worry about financial matters, but it is something that many people think is not a cost effective thing to do.
What is essential is to make sure that the things you have built up over a lifetime of hard work go to those that you want it to.
The Importance of Having a Will
Although many people have insurance policies and other financial considerations in place to look after their loved ones after they die, making a will is sometimes seen as morbid.
If you die without having a valid will there can be problems and delays in your loved ones inheriting your estate in the way you want them to, but when you have a will it sets out a clear record of your own desires as to what happens to your estate.
The term ‘estate’ is basically a legal way of saying ‘everything that is yours’. So all of your assets make up your estate, and it is up to you how that is distributed after you die.
Probate and Administration
When someone dies there are many legalities to be looked after, and one is establishing whether or not there is a valid will. If there is, the next step is to apply for a grant to enable the estate to be distributed.
This is known as granting ‘probate’ and it gives the person named in the will as the executor the legal right to distribute the estate as per the instructions of the will.
If there is no will this can complicate matters as the estate is then distributed along general legal lines, which might not be true to the wishes of the deceased.
Although making a will is quite straightforward, it is best to take legal advice to make sure everything is done in the right way. They are experienced in helping people through the process and making it simple and easy.
4 responses to “Why Having A Will Matters”
Excellent advice. While your readers are working on the will, I’d kindly suggest they check their beneficiary designations on their retirement accounts. This includes any current or former 401(k), 403(b) etc. along with any IRA accounts they might have.
Inheriting these accounts via the will shortens the time the beneficiary has until the account must be withdrawn in full, 5 years, vs their life expectancy. This can be far more taxing than need be.
Great primer on this area. Care needs to be taken with life insurance beneficiary designations. If a simultaneous death of parents occur having a trust named as a contingent beneficiary is essential. Otherwise a court will decide on a trustee and supervise the trust both very expensive and far in excess of the cost of having a trust crafted in the way the parents intended. Getting with an experienced estate planning attorney is essential if you want to protect your family and to implement a workable and well integrated estate plan. Readers can go to my website for a lot of free articles on estate planning. Also readers may be interested in a comprehensive discussion of the changes in 2013 estate tax law changes by reading Estate Planning 2013: Now What: A must read for everyone: http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/federal-pennsylvania-estate-tax-planning-2013/
Yet most of us are not sure why. Unless you’ve been the executor for someone else’s estate, it’s a process you won’t have to go through… but your loved ones might have to.
To show your love, don’t add your loved one’s name to your deed. Protect your loved ones properly by providing for them in a will drafted by an experienced attorney, who is familiar with your family’s situation.