While weight-loss resolutions might continue to be the most popular, any estate planning attorney could tell you that resolving to write a will should be at the forefront of anyone’s list. Here, the estate planning attorneys at Rodier Family Law explain why crafting a will is so vital.
A Will is Legally Binding and Shortens the Probate Process
By creating a will, you are able to maintain control of your estate after you pass away. A will better ensures that your assets are distributed in the way you see fit. Without a will, you risk familial disputes over who thinks they deserve which portion of your estate. Also, if you wish to include a non-family member, or alternatively, disinherit a family member, a will can ensure that those desires are fulfilled.
Furthermore, although the majority of estates must go through probate, the existence of a will can greatly reduce the amount of time probate takes. Without a will, probate can become a longer and more difficult proceeding, as the court must determine how best to administer and distribute your estate’s assets rather than simply enforcing your wishes.
You Can Ensure Your Minor Children are Well-Protected
Having children underlines the importance of creating a will, because a will also allows you to recommend a guardian for your minor children in the event that you pass away before they reach the age of 18. Without a will, your children could be placed under the care of a distant relative, the state or a stranger who you would not have found to be a suitable guardian based on your values and children’s needs.
A Will Can Minimize Estate Taxes Through Gifts and Donations
Giving gifts to loved ones and making charitable donations may help to lower your estate tax burden. In 2018, the annual gift tax exclusion has been increased to $15,000—this means that you are able to give up to $15,000 in gifts per individual per year, increasing the quality of life and comfort of your loved ones, while minimizing the burden of estate taxes. You are also able to give an unlimited amount in gifts to qualified charitable organizations without having to worry about gift taxes. Charitable donations not only may reduce your estate tax burden, but also allow you to extend your legacy through monetary gifts to important causes.
A Will Protects Against Life’s Unpredictability
Nobody likes to think about what will happen when they are gone, and most assume they will not need to think about this issue for a long time. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and as such it is important to establish a will as early as possible to keep your loved ones and assets protected. As life changes occur, you always have the ability to rewrite your will to meet your shifting needs.
The estate planning attorneys at Rodier Family Law want to help you protect your loved ones, assets and legacy through the creation of an appropriate estate plan. Whether you wish to draft a will, power of attorney, advance healthcare directive or any other estate planning document, we are dedicated to ensuring your estate is properly managed after your passing. For more information about how Rodier Family Law can help, contact us today.