If you’re a parent, you need to have a will in place. If you don’t, and pass away without one, you must consider that state law will step in and decide what will happen with your children and your property. While the state will try their best to make things fair and act in a child’s best interests, this may not always align with your personal goals.
Having a will in place protects your children and assets, and can bring you relief should anything happen. Here are the top 3 reasons to make sure you have a current and updated will if you children:
1. You get to determine who will take care of your children
If you wouldn’t want strangers (the state) to decide who becomes your child’s guardian if you pass away, you must appoint a guardian in your will. You can decide who would be the best fit to look after your child’s well-being and should consider a variety of factors, such as if they’re supportive, responsible, or close to home if you wouldn’t want your children to move, before making a decision. It may not be easy, but it is of the utmost importance. You should then even consider naming a second should the first be unwilling, even if they say they would be willing now.
2. You can determine who will take care of your (and your children’s) finances and property
While you can appoint the same person that is your child’s personal guardian for this as well, you can also appoint someone else. This could be important if you think one person would be a more emotionally supportive and stable parent, but another has a stronger hold on management and finances.
3. You decide who gets what.
Whether you divvy up your property evenly between your children, or decide some will get more than others, this one is critical. Some things may sound easy to split down the middle, but many others, such as furniture, cars, jewelry, or even things as specific as your video game collection, you’ll want to think about who you would like to specifically get what. And even if you decide to leave one person nothing, unless written in a will, they may be able to claim a portion of your estate.
Writing a will makes sure your family is taken care of in the future. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you navigate the complexities of wills and create a unique plan to ensure everything is on the right track.