You’re never quite prepared for the death of a loved one, regardless of the situation. Adding insult to injury, though is when a loved one dies before drafting a will, which risks creating an unintended burden on those left behind. Now, imagine it was your own loved ones who settle through your affairs, absent of a will. It’s particularly important for parents to keep their children protect by developing an official, legalized last will and testament.
Understanding the Need for a Will
Close to half of the people who die in the United States do not have an active will, according to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. This means that the family will have no control over how their loved one’s assets and properties are distributed and handled in the event of their passing. That’s because the laws of the land will put that power in the hands of the state government. Regardless of your age or the number of assets you currently own, creating an active will is the only way to legally ensure that your wishes will be granted in regards to your assets and belongings.
The Welfare of Your Children
Even though you might not want to necessarily think of them as “assets,” the state can also gain full control over what happens to your children in the event of your passing, especially if the other parent is also deceased at the time. When working on your last will and testament, it is highly recommended that you select a guardian that will bear the responsibility of raising your children after you have passed, if necessary. Based on the majority of cases that the average attorney, this is one of the first questions that is asked when they are processing your will.
The Distribution of Your Life Insurance Policy
Whether you have a life insurance policy of $10,000 or $100,000, your last will and testament will also provide detailed instructions about how you would like for that money to be distributed. In most cases, parents will choose to split the benefit of their policies equally amongst their children. An attorney reviews these coverage amounts and beneficiary designations when processing your last will and testament. Keep in mind that you do have the ability to distribute the money however you see fit, but minor children are not able to inherit property legally. Therefore, you will need to place the property under the care of their legal guardian until they have reached the appropriate legal age.
When a Change Becomes Necessary
Just because you plan your last will one way today does not mean that you will not need to change it tomorrow. As time goes on, your circumstances in life may drastically change which will basically make your last will and testament inaccurate and in need of an immediate revision. For example, single parents will need to update their will accordingly if they should decide to get married in the future. When that happens, it is important for you to update your will accordingly. The same principle applies if you divorced your spouse after creating your initial will. In that particular case, the best course of action to take would be to request that an attorney from LegalZoom reviews and replaces the entire will with a brand new one instead of revising the old.
A Necessary Evil
Even though it may not be considered as being the most pleasant task, completing a will should basically be considered a necessary evil. In order to make sure that your family and your assets are protected from the state, you need to invest in the legal assistance of a licensed attorney to help you to get one set up as soon as possible if you have not done so already.