Ten Top Reasons to Make Your Will

There are undoubtedly more than ten reasons why it is a good idea for you to have a Will.  But I recently heard an attorney in another state make a presentation on some of the top reasons why he suggests clients prepare a Will.  I thought those reasons were worth sharing.top-ten

  1. Choose who receives your estate.  If you don’t have a Will, the laws of the state of Texas will determine who receives your property and that may not be who you want to receive it.  In a Will you can direct who is to receive your estate.
  2. Choose who administers your estate.  If you don’t have a Will, a court will determine who should administer your estate.  In a Will you can direct who you would like to administer your estate.  The court still has to make the appointment, but it usually follows your direction in your Will.
  3. Designate guardians for your minor or incapacitated children.  Within your Will you can say who you would like to have serve as guardian of your children if they are minors or incapacitated upon your death.  If you do not make such a designation, the court will have to select someone to serve in that capacity without your input.
  4. Reduce expenses of probate.  A properly drafted Will can provide for a streamlined form of probate that minimizes the expenses of handling probate.
  5. Save time in probate.  The same streamlined form of probate selected to minimize expenses will also usually result in a more quickly completed probate.  If you have no Will it becomes much more difficult to get the court to allow you to use the streamlined form of probate.
  6. Minimize the chance of disputes.  There is no way to guarantee that disputes will not arise during the administration of your estate.  But setting out your wishes in a well drafted Will should greatly reduce the likelihood of your beneficiaries raising issues after your death because of disagreements about what your wishes were.
  7. Avoid burdens.  The lack of a Will often leads to confusion on the part of those who are appointed to administer your estate as to how they should handle your affairs and wrap up your estate.  It can also create confusion among those who receive parts of your estate and those who don’t receive part of your estate, but think they should have.  The burdens of dealing with this confusion can be quite hard on your loved ones.
  8. Protect minors.  In addition to protecting your children through the appointment of a guardian, you may also establish trusts for your minor or incapacitated children and other beneficiaries.  The trust will be administered by a trustee you select.  The trust can provide for funds to be paid out as your children need it while growing up, as they go to college and then those funds to be paid out at a particular age or upon the occurrence of specified events.
  9. Protect your business.  Your Will can designate how you wish a business to be handled after your death, and who should manage it.
  10. The state won’t receive your estate.  The state won’t receive your estate unless an exhaustive search is unable to locate any of your heirs.  It may not be likely that none of your heirs will be able to be located after you die, but if that does occur, your estate could end up going to the state of Texas.  If you don’t have close family, you may wish to provide that your estate go to particular friends or charities.  That can only happen if you prepare a Will.
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