1. Appoint Guardians: Aside from distributing your assts, Wills are extremely important if you have children under 18 of age. Writing your Will provides you the opportunity to assign guardians to care for your children in the event of your death. Choosing the right individuals to take care of your children and possibly raise your children may be one of the most important decisions you make.
2. Peace of Mind: A Will provides your loved ones peace of mind as your affairs will be in order and thereby prevent your family and friends from having to go through and try to locate your lifetime of paperwork, accounts etc. to put things straight. Your family and friends will be able to grieve and celebrate your life as opposed to trying to locate all your assets.
3. Distribution of Assets: Writing your Will allows you to put in writing what parts of your estate you would like certain family and friends to have. Writing a will also ensures that all your assets are distributed to the ones you love and not the state. Even with very small estates, giving your property to specific loved ones can be very gratifying.
4. Final burial wishes: Funeral arranging for a loved one can be terribly difficult and painful and a Will provides you with the opportunity to make your wishes known and even pre-arrange some aspects of your end of life ceremony. Expressing your final wishes regarding your burial is especially important if you wish to be buried in a unique manner.
5. Choosing a Personal Representative: In order to probate a Will, you must choose a personal representative to ensure all your debts are paid and that all your assets are distributed according to your Will. Choosing someone you trust is very important. Moreover, selecting a representative early allows you to prevent future conflict and will allow you to discuss your affairs with your chosen representative during your lifetime.
6. Too little too late: Sadly, death or incapacity due to illness may strike at any time. Writing a Will now however while competent and healthy will ensure your final wishes are recorded. With respect to writing a Will – there is no time like the present!
7. Keep the Peace: A well drafted Will prevents family members from arguing over what you might have wanted, or what should be done with your assets or who should get what. The last thing you want is a family battle upon your death.
8. Protect your Family: A Will is crucial to ensure that your family is well provided for upon your death. Without a Will your spouse or children’s guardians may not be able to reach your assets in a timely manner in order to take care of your debts or other obligations. A well-drafted will ensures that all your assets are distributed upon probate (the legal process in which a court oversees the distribution of property left in a will) without complication.
9. Those with Special Needs: If you have a family member or a child that may need more of an inheritance due to disability or sickness a Will or special needs trusts will ensure that individual is well taken care of.
10. Up-to-date: Even if you have a will, ensure that it is current and correctly describes your beneficiaries and assets. Any time your circumstances change you should up-date your Will to reflect those changes!