Everyone needs a will. If you don't have one the state will make your decisions for you and your wishes may not be carried out in death. Everyone also needs to have their will updated regularly, at least every couple of years or sooner if you or someone close to you (i.e., a potential beneficiary) has had a significant life event.
What it does:
It is a plan or a design in writing that "distributes" your property at your death. It is a custom made document created by you for the benefit of your family. It can control the disposition of assets that are not effectively disposed of through will substitutes, dispose of after-acquired assets, and perform other important functions that various instruments cannot perform.
For example, a will—and typically no other document—may be used to:
- exercise testamentary powers of appointment (designate personal representative);
- appoint guardians of the person and estate of minor children;
- consolidate assets in inter vivos or testamentary trusts for post-mortem management;
- direct the source from which debts and death taxes should be paid;
- achieve income and transfer tax savings by giving survivors limited interests in testamentary trusts;
- dispose of the proceeds of policies of insurance on the life of the testator if the beneficiary does not survive him or her;
- vary the consequences of simultaneous death or require the beneficiaries to survive the testator for a limited period; and
- disinherit children in favor of a spouse, or otherwise deviate from the local intestate succession law.
Benefits For Preserving Personal Asset Continuity
- Enables you to choose your beneficiaries
- Permits the transfer of your assets to your designated beneficiaries without delay vs. distribution according to state "intestate succession" statutes
- Minimizes tax ramifications associated with your estate
- Substantial legal and administrative costs and fees can be avoided
- Avoids extensive probate procedures