Do I Need a Will?
Do I Need a Will? Death is one of the few certainties of life, yet most Americans find it difficult to talk about death and put down their final wishes to their loved ones. According to the latest Gallup poll, only 46 percent of Americans have a will, a legal document that details how they would like their assets distributed after their death. Even more shocking is these numbers have remained relatively the same since 1990, hovering between 44 and 51 percent.
Though no single document can fully resolve every issue that arises after your death, a will comes pretty close. Here are 5 top reasons why you should have a will as an adult at any age.
1. Your Chosen Heirs Will Have Quicker Access to Your Property
After your death, your legal document goes into probate, a process to determine its validity and authenticity so that the named executor can carry out your wishes. On average, the probate process can take anywhere between 8 and 12 months. If your estate is very large and complex, this process can take slightly longer. However, the total time it takes to distribute your assets is significantly less compared to the period it would have taken if there were no legal directives and legal battles ensued over the inheritance.
2. Allow You to Name the Legal Guardians of Your Children
In the event of your untimely demise, family members may clash over who takes custody of your children, especially if they’re very young and heirs to a substantial estate. Without a legal document specifying your wishes, the decision will fall on a judge who will decide where your children go. This is not ideal since the judge will have no idea how you’d like your children to be raised.
A legal document allows you to name the legal guardians for your kids, preventing strangers from making life-changing decisions for your children.
3. Ease the Tax Burden
A legal document can ensure your loved ones get to keep more of your estate after your death that would have otherwise gone to the government through taxes. For instance, with proper legal guidance, through your will, you can position your inheritance as a gift to a loved one, or “donate” your assets to a charity they own so that the assets will be exempt from inheritance tax.
4. Creates Peace of Mind for Your Loved Ones
As earlier stated, having a clear legal document eliminates any disputes that may arise from the division of assets since the deceased’s wishes are clearly laid out. This creates peace of mind for your loved ones by making it difficult for estranged relatives and other parties to claim a stake in the property and consequently tie up the assets for years through litigation.
Looking for reputable hometown lawyers to help you draft your legal document?
Townes & Woods offers the finest estate planning and probate services, as well as accident and injury services in North Jefferson County.