Control. This is arguably the most well-known reason to get a will. Those who create a will can control how assets are distributed. Without this document, the state will decide how these assets are distributed.
Although a good incentive to put together a will, control is not the only benefit of having this powerful legal document. Four additional reasons to get a will include:
- Choice. Parents, even young and healthy parents, are wise to put together a will to specify who they want to serve as guardians for their children. Without this document, the state will likely choose who raises your kids.
- Protect business interests. Business owners are wise to have a will. Without clear instructions included in a will, beneficiaries could litigate over business interests, depleting the business’ assets. Business owners can reduce this risk by including language within a will to better protect the business from costly litigation.
- Reduce tax obligations. While putting together your will, you may want to consider adding a trust or other legal tool that can reduce your estate’s tax obligations. This means less of your hard-earned money goes to the government and more goes to your loved ones.
- Avoid conflict. A clear will can avoid confusion and potential conflict amongst loved ones. Those with the best intentions may believe they knew what you wanted for your children or how you wanted your assets distributed. This document will help remove confusion and clearly state your wishes.
Even those who already have a will are wise to review the document on a regular basis. Rules and laws that impact your will can change, and these changes can result in unintended consequences. One current example involves recent tax reform with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Those who have not yet reviewed the impact of this new law on a previously drafted estate plan are wise to do so promptly. An attorney experienced in these matters can discuss the implications of the change and update your will as needed.