You work hard all your life to provide for yourself and your family. But what would happen to your family if you were gone? Who would take care of your children? To whom should your assets be distributed and when should they receive them?

Who Will Care for Your Children?

Who will take care of your children if something happened to you? If you are married and something happened to both you and your spouse, who would take care of them? If you do not have a will, then that decision will be made by a judge who does not know you, your family, or your wishes. With a will, you can specify who should take care of your children (with alternates in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve as guardians), how their daily and educational expenses will be met, and at what ages they should receive your property outright.

Who Will Get Your Property?

To whom will your assets go when you are no longer here? When will they get them? Without a will, your assets will likely go through an expensive, prolonged, and complicated process to distribute your assets. An administrator will be appointed by the courts (probably not the person you would want to handle your estate). Your assets will be distributed exactly as state law dictates, regardless of the needs, the character, or worthiness of the people among whom your estate is divided. If you have minor children, their inheritance will be watched over by the courts (an expensive process) until they turn eighteen. Then, they will receive the full amount. Would you like your children to receive the remainder of your assets at such a young age? Without a will, the legal costs of settling your estate could be increased greatly, thus reducing the actual amount of money finally received by your heirs. With a will, you can specify who will settle your estate. You can create trusts to manage the assets your children will receive and determine when they will receive them. You can choose who will receive your property.

Your All Important Will

When you plan your estate, nothing is more important than your will. Should you die without a valid will, your spouse, your children, or other heirs could face critical problems as they try to settle your estate. Only by leaving a will can you be sure that your money, property, and other holdings in your estate will go to those you love, according to your wishes.