A will is a document that disposes of your property when you die. That is, it tells your personal representative (we will talk about personal representatives below) what to do with your stuff.
Is that all it can do?: No! A will names your personal representative, conservator, and or guardian. It can name the people or person you want to raise young children should you pass away. It can contain your funeral directions and provide for people who would normally not be entitled to your property at your death, like stepchildren.
What are the things a will does not do?
A Will does not tell the personal representative what to do with assets governed by beneficiary designation and specifically titled property. Theses assets are life insurance, retirement plans such as 401k, retirement accounts such as an IRA, Property titled as joint property with rights of survivorship and employment death benefits.
A will not prevent probate.
A will usually works best in tandem with a comprehensive estate plan.
Do you really need a will?
Yes you do. Everyone over the age of 18 needs a will.
Because stuff happens! We like to think that we’ll live on to the ripe old age of 99, but the truth is a lot of things can happen along the way. Wills don’t just plan for death, they enable your loved ones to access your property if you are injured and or disabled.
A will also saves your family the trouble of trying to guess what your wishes are. In the wake of an injury or death, families and loved ones have a lot of unexpected emotional and financial issues to navigate. Wills eliminate the guesswork and even some heartache by providing guidance.