Whether you are in your twenties or your nineties, whether you are married or single, whether you have children or not, it is a good idea to have a will. Estate planning is in many ways about preparing for the unexpected; and, if you do not have an estate plan, your family members will face unnecessary expenses and likely some extremely-challenging decisions should you die or become incapacitated.

While there are several different estate planning tools available – each serving its own unique purpose and each with its own unique benefits and limitations – the will remains a foundational component of most modern estate plans. So, if you do not have a will, here are five reasons to speak with an estate planning lawyer about putting one in place:

1. A Will Lets You Control the Distribution of Your Assets After Death

Without a will, once your creditors and your probate, funeral and burial expenses have been paid, your remaining assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. These laws are designed to apply to everyone, and this means that they rarely (if ever) truly reflect anyone’s final wishes. Additionally, while these laws designate certain heirs to receive certain percentages of a decedent’s property, they do not actually specify who gets what. As a result, legal disputes are common, and the financial and emotional costs of probate litigation can be substantial.

2. A Will Can Help Minimize the Costs and Taxes Resulting from Estate Administration

Regardless of whether you die with or without a will, your family will need to deal with the probate process. However, having a will can substantially reduce the time and costs involved. With a will, you can also plan the distribution of your estate in order to minimize tax liability, and this can result in significant savings for your surviving family members.

3. A Will Lets You Decide Who Will Care for Your Minor Children

If you have children, or if you may have children in the future, another key reason to have a will is that it allows you to designate a guardian to care for your children until they reach age 18. Establishing guardianship through the courts can be a costly and emotionally-charged process, and it is something from which most people want to protect their loved ones if at all possible.

4. A Will Lets You Decide Who Will Manage Your Final Affairs

When you die, someone needs to manage your final affairs. You can select this person in your will. If you do not select a personal representative, the probate court will need to appoint one for you, and this is yet another process that involves unnecessary costs and the potential for litigation.

5. A Will Can Provide Certainty and Closure for Your Loved Ones

In summary, a will provides much-needed certainty and closure for your loved ones. By setting out your final wishes in a plan that is easy to follow, you are protecting your family members from costly and challenging circumstances in which they must try to guess what you would have wanted. The benefits of having a will are substantial, and they are only outweighed by the costs of choosing not to plan for the future.

Speak With a McKinney Probate Lawyer in Confidence

If you live in McKinney, TX or the surrounding area and would like to speak with a lawyer about preparing a will, you can contact the law offices of Nordhaus Walpole PLLC for a free consultation. To request an appointment, please call (214) 726-1450 or send us a message online today.