Do you have a will? Have you ever thought about having one created? Did you decide you don’t need one? Or is it just another task on your to-do list that never actually gets completed? If you have decided that a will is not necessary in your situation or if you always meant to have a will created, but just never make it a priority, this month’s article is for you. Let’s talk about why a will is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family.
Why Is A Will So Important?
A will is a legally-binding document that allows you to determine how your estate will be handled upon your death. Without a will, there is no guarantee that your desires will be carried out. A will minimizes family conflict by determining the who, what and when of your estate after your passing.
Care of Minor Children:
For individuals or couples with minor children, the will is an opportunity to record your informed decision regarding who should take care of your minor children if it becomes necessary due to death or injury. Without a will, the court makes the decision.Avoiding a Lengthy Succession Process:
All estates go through the succession process (referred to in other states as probate), but with a will, you can speed up that process significantly because the court has instructions on how you would like your estate divided. Without a will, there can be long, unnecessary delays.
Minimizing Estate Taxes:
A will allows you to minimize estate taxes because the value of what is given away to charity or family members decreasing the estate’s value when it’s time to pay taxes.
Choosing an Executor:
A will enables you to choose/appoint the executor of your estate. The executory of your estate handles your affairs (paying off bills, canceling credit cards, notifying accounts of death, etc.) They play the biggest role in estate administration.
Choosing Who Not to Include:
Louisiana is the only state in the United States that has forced heirship – meaning, under certain circumstances, a portion of your estate must go to a descendant. The only way to avoid that is to disinherint that person in your will. There are only certain reasons in which you can disinherit someone, but without a will, it cannot be done.
Designate Donations and Gifts:
A will allows you to leave a legacy – it can reflect your personal values and interests. Plus, gifts up to $13,000 are excluded from estate tax, so leaving a gift/donation can increase the value of your estate that your beneficiaries will be able to enjoy. Check with your estate planning attorney to ensure you are basing your specifications on current laws for up-to-date gift tax exclusions.
Drafting a will can be a daunting task, but worth it for the protection it provides to all you hold dear. If you need assistance crafting your wishes into a legally-binding document, get in touch with one of the experienced estate planning attorneys at Stanley-Wallace Law.