As the saying goes, “nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” Despite this, most people don’t have a will because they don’t want to contemplate what will happen when they pass away. It’s uncomfortable to be sure, and that’s why an estimated 70 percent of Americans don’t have a will. If you fall into this category, it’s time to contact our estate planning attorneys in Austin and get started. Here’s why you need a will.
1. A Will Lets You Decide How Your Estate is Handled
Your will is legally binding, which means there’s no question about who inherits what and no doubt about whether your wishes will be carried out. You can choose the executor, whether it’s a family member, friend, or someone else, and you can detail how you want your affairs to be handled and who gets your property.
A will also allows you to disinherit someone who would normally inherit your estate if you didn’t have a will. If you have an ex-spouse or estranged family member who you don’t want to inherit your property, the only way to prevent this is by putting your wishes in writing in a will.
2. A Will Gives You Say in Who Will Raise Your Children
If you have minor children, it’s important to have a will that outlines who you want to care for them. While divvying up property and other assets is one thing, you don’t want the court to appoint a guardian after you pass away and you don’t want your family members to have to fight over who gets custody if your wishes aren’t clear. The only way to ensure that your children are raised by your choice of guardian is to include this in your will.
3. A Will Makes Things Easier for Your Survivors
When a loved one dies, it’s a difficult time for survivors, and not having a will can add to this emotional turmoil. Stress causes bickering between family members and sometimes even causes relationships to become permanently severed. The probate process can be long and drawn out when your wishes are not in writing. With a will, the probate process is faster and there’s no reason for arguments and disagreements between your loved ones when you make your desires known.
4. A Will Can Minimize Estate Taxes
Hire a skilled estate planning attorney and you can write your will in such a way that estate taxes are minimized. If needed, we can also work with your accountant or a wealth management firm to come up with a comprehensive plan for your estate and put it in writing in your will.
5. A Will Lets You Create a Lasting Legacy
Finally, your will also gives you the opportunity to create a lasting legacy, whether it’s paying for a loved one’s college education, setting up a charitable foundation, or making a substantial gift to a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.