1. Because you do not know what happens if you die without a will.
If you die without a will, the intestate laws will control who will receive your assets. Most of us assume that if we die with a spouse then our spouse will receive all of our assets. However, this is not always the case.
2. Because even if you have these documents, they may be out of date.
Any time we have a major change in our lives, there is a possibility that our estate planning documents need to be changed. These events include the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, purchasing a new home or other property, etc.
3. So you can decide who will settle your estate.
If you do not appoint someone to settle your estate in a will, you are leaving this decision up to the state and the court system. The person who may be entitled to act as your personal representative may be someone you do not find trustworthy or able to complete the plethora of tasks required of the personal representative. If a personal representative is not appointed in the will, the probate process can become lengthy and expensive.
4. An estate plan can help prevent disputes among your family members.
So many of us believe that we can trust how our family will act after our passing or during an illness. Unfortunately, this is not the case in all situations. When an estate plan is in place your wishes are clear, and guaranteed to be followed.
5. You can appoint a guardian or guardians for your minor children.
Children are one of our most cherished and valuable assets, and they need to be protected. If you do not nominate someone to take your children in the event that you and your spouse pass, this critical decision will be left to the court. If your swishes are specified in a will, you get to make this decision based on criteria that you find important.
6. You can set up a trust for your minor children or for children with special needs.
There are multiple situations in which it is beneficial to set up a trust. A trust allows certain property or money to be distributed to your beneficiaries at certain times or during certain periods in their lives. A trustee would be in charge of making those distributions.
7. An attorney can help coordinate your will with assets that the will does not control.
Assets that have beneficiary designations are not going to be controlled by the will. Making sure that these designations are in line with the decisions made in the will is also important.
8. You need to have an advanced medical directive and power of attorney.
9. You can make charitable gifts in your will.
Many of us make donations to our favorite charity or church. Why not continue to provide these gifts after you have passed. This can be done in your Will.
10. Because you do not have one!
So many of us put off creating an estate plan for a variety of reasons. There is only one thing in this life that none of us can avoid. Why not be prepared when that time comes? Your wishes can only be followed if they are specified in a properly-prepared document. Make sure that you will be the one controlling your assets.