Thinking Ahead: When to Write a Will
to Protect Your Loved Ones
A whopping 68 percent of Americans don’t have a will or any other form of estate planning.
If you’re one of these people, you certainly have your reasons. Perhaps writing a will or even talking about it is taboo in your culture. Or maybe you think you don’t have any assets to leave behind. Maybe you’re planning to finally prepare a will but haven’t got to it yet. It is worth knowing that if no proper arrangements are made prior to your death your estate passes to your next of kin via intestate succession in Michigan. This works as a type of default will, but is not ideal if you have specific requirements or family members that you wish to leave your assets to.
Regardless of your reason, there’s no doubt that a will is an important legal document. And knowing when to write a will is just as important. This is because not every person needs a will.
Continue reading to know if it’s high time you called an estate planning attorney.
You Have Reached Adult Age
By law, only people who have attained the adult age can write a will. In most states, this is when you clock 18 years. If you’re an adult and you don’t have a will, it’s time to start preparing one.
We know what you’re thinking. “I just turned 18 and I don’t have any assets. Why should I have a will?”
Well, a will does more than flesh out your asset distribution wishes. A living will fleshes out advance directives on issues such as your health. If you were to fall into a coma, for instance, who will make medical decisions on your behalf?
So, even if you don’t have any assets, you can still find yourself in a medical situation that requires the input of another person. With a living will, you have the power to state your directives. You can make use of will writing kits and write your will.
You Have Assets
What comes to mind when you think of assets? You’re probably thinking about money in the bank, real estate property, jewelry, vehicles, company shares, and whatnot.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but an asset can be anything you legally own, such as your mobile phone and computer. Even your books and clothes can be identified as an asset. An estate planning attorney can help you understand more about what counts and doesn’t count as an asset.
Regardless of your present net worth, when you have some assets, it’s important to write a will and state how you’d like them to be distributed. Without a will, it’ll be up to a judge to determine how your estate will be passed down, in accordance with the laws of your state, which can add to its complexities, so hiring a probate lawyer can be helpful.
Even if you don’t have an estate that qualifies for probate, dying without a will can mean that your little assets, such as a computer, end up in the hands of someone you could not have wished to have it.
You Have a Spouse/Children
When you have a family, especially children, the need to write a will increases. A will enables you to nominate a legal guardian to take care of the children in the event that you pass on or become incapacitated before they reach adult age.
Having children also means you have heirs. A will helps you to distribute your assets to them while you’re still alive.
Know When to Write a Will
A will can make the difference between a smooth transfer of an estate to heirs and a chaotic one. Most people know that they need a will at some point in their lives, but they don’t quite know when to write a will. With this guide, you now know when it’s necessary to get down to the business of drawing a will.
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