What is a Will?
Your last will and testament is a legal document designed to make your end-of-life wishes pertaining to you assets known. It allows you to communicate how you want property and other assets distributed to heirs or beneficiaries, give voice to who you want to be nominated as guardian for your minor children (if the other parent is deceased or incapable, for example), and leave directions for how certain expenses regarding burial, cremation, and funeral arrangements are to be paid.
As a side note, it’s wise to make your funeral wishes known in another way, since the last will and testament may not be read until after you’ve been laid to rest. You should also name the executor of your will in the document itself.
Wills versus Trusts
If you have a will or a trust, you might not think you need the other, but these legal devices serve two distinct purposes, and they actually work best when used together. Trusts, for example, are ideal for protecting wealth and assets with significant monetary value since they help to avoid estate taxes and can save on legal fees and costs associated with probate.
A will, on the other hand, is better used for passing along items of sentimental value, like heirlooms with little monetary value and personal property. There are also certain legal situations that cannot be handled with a trust structure, such as nominating guardianship.
It’s important that you work with experienced professionals like the attorneys at Curtis Law Firm to draft an ironclad will so as to avoid the potential for contestation. Keep in mind, it’s much more difficult to contest a trust, which is why it’s wise to use both of these legal devices to benefit your loved ones after your death.
Benefits of Having a Will
Once you are gone, you lose the opportunity to make your wishes for your estate known, and even if you’ve told people what you want, they have no legal requirement to carry out your wishes. Your last will and testament ensures that crucial decisions won’t be left up to the state or a court following your death, and that your loved ones won’t have to fight about how to distribute your estate.
A will allows you to select a trusted personal representative to help carry out your wishes regarding your estate, protects your interests and protects the interests of your beneficiaries. You don’t want a stranger appointed by the court to do this.
You also want to choose the right person or people to raise your minor children in your absence, instead of letting family members fight it out. A will helps to create a smooth transition for loved ones following your death, which is perhaps the greatest gift you can give them.