You probably know the general meaning of a will, but you may think that you're too young to have one drawn up now. After all, you are healthy and have many years ahead of you. However, you never really know when something will happen that can take your life, and if you die without a will, you're leaving a big mess for your family to clean up. This article will go over the reasons why it's important to make sure you have a will as soon as you are on your own and not dependent on your parents anymore, and what can happen if you still brush the idea of a will aside.
Dying Without a Will
When you die without a will, the legal term for this is called "intestate." When you die intestate, the courts decide who gets what, and there are no considerations made as to the type of relationships you have with other people. When you take the time to have a will drawn up, you essentially save your family from a lot of unnecessary stress during a time that will already prove to be quite difficult for your family and survivors.
Common Rules for Intestacy
While laws and rules do vary from state to state, the common rules for dying intestate including the following:
- If you have a significant other but are not in a marriage or legal civil relationship, they have no legal rights to anything you leave behind.
- If married, your spouse will inherit just about all of your estate, and your children have no rights to any of your property.
- Inheritance tax could be higher if you don't have a will.
- If you are the lone parent of your minor children, the court will decide who retains legal custody of those children.
The Importance of a Will
Your will is important because it takes care of the following issues that will arise after your death:
- Your beneficiaries. Your will will outline who you want to receive your property when you pass away. This includes anything from major assets and bank accounts to something like a collection that has special meaning to you. You will also outline specific dollar amounts you wish to leave to certain family members or friends.
- Your executor. You want to appoint someone you can trust to handle your affairs after you pass. This person will be in charge in making sure that all of your distributions and wishes are carried out as instructed in your will.
- Guardians for your minor children. Your will should outline at least two sets of guardians who will take in and raise your children should you pass away before they reach the age of majority.
Talk to a wills and trust lawyer, from a firm like Tessneer Law Office, to set up your will and give you and your family peace of mind.