Even after death, celebrities are highly publicized for their mistakes, many of which we make ourselves. This time last year, superstar musician Prince died suddenly, leaving no will, and the management of his substantial estate fraught with legal complications and added costs.
It’s easy to assume that the wealthiest among us have all their ducks in a row, but it’s hard to judge someone—even a celebrity—for neglecting something like the creation of a will. Until you stop to seriously think about what will happen when you die, creating a will can seem like an unnecessary and morbid task, certainly not something you casually check off your to-do list. Nevertheless, the importance of having a will simply cannot be stressed enough. Below are just a few of the reasons why everyone should have a will, no matter their wealth, age or health.
You can name the person you want to manage your estate in your will. You will get to choose someone you trust and make sure they have all the knowledge they need to ensure your wishes for your estate are carried out.
You can decide who your beneficiaries will be. You can also disinherit those who would normally stand to inherit from your estate if you choose. Your wealth and possessions are yours; a will provides a legally enforceable way to ensure they go to the right people.
You can ensure your minor children will be raised by the people you want, for the long-term. If you have minor children, you should name a legal guardian and include provisions for their care in your will. But, don’t rely on a will alone because it won’t address the immediate care of your children if something happens to you, it won’t provide for your children’s care in the event of incapacity and it won’t ensure someone you would never want to raise your kids could not.
You can leave gifts and donations to your favorite charities or people you love beyond your legal family. Without a will, your estate would pass to the people designated to receive it under the law, and that may not be who you would want to receive everything you own. Creating a will ensures you get to choose who gets what.
Important as they are, a will can only do so much. For example, a will does not keep your family out of court.
And, a will does not ensure your kids will never be taken out of your home, if something happens to you.
And, a will does not keep your family out of conflict.
A will is only one part of a comprehensive estate plan that will protect and enforce your wishes when you die.
If you are ready to take the right steps toward making informed, empowered and educated decisions for the legal and financial future of the people you love, start by sitting down with an Estate Planning Lawyer.
As your Estate Planning Lawyer, we will walk you step-by-step through the creation of an estate plan that will protect what you value most. Our Family Wealth Planning Session helps you protect and preserve your wealth for future generations. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you and what you want to leave behind.