Most people know that a Will lets them determine who will receive their property when they die. Despite this significant benefit, relatively few people have Wills.
If you die without a Will, your property will be distributed according to state law. It may not be distributed the way you want, since it is distributed without considering the needs or circumstances of recipients. A Will can do more than just determine how property is distributed upon death. It can name an executor. The executor will oversee your estate’s financial affairs during “probate,” including making sure your debts are paid and that your property is distributed as stated in your will. Without a will, a judge chooses your executor. A Will can also set up a trust, which can help save taxes. Thus, for people with substantial assets, a Will can be a cost-saving tool.
For married couples with young children, Wills are essential. Each spouse should have a Will in order to select a guardian for the children in case both parents die. The guardian will raise the children and manage their money. Without a Will, the critical decision of who will be your children’s guardian will be left to a judge.