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10 Reasons You Need a Will

Posted by on April 12, 2013 at 2:25 PM


1. No Bond – When one passes without a will, they are said to have passed “intestate” and their estate will then be administered by a court appointed representative. This representative will then be required to purchase a bond to insure that the estate is properly administered. This Bond can prove very costly and is determined based on the size of the estate. The cost of the bond (frequently in the thousands of dollars) will be paid from the estate. A well drafted will can contain a provision that will relieve your heirs from this burden and cost.

2. Control over unique assets/eliminate or reduce fighting among heirs – The laws of intestate succession in this state do not take into consideration your personal feelings and wishes regarding your assets. In the absence of a will those personal items of yours that have sentimental value and represent a connection between you and your family will be distributed by an administrator selected by the court. Your personal wishes will not be considered. This can lead to disputes among heirs which will result in unnecessarily hurt feelings and additional costs as your family turns to the courts to distribute your assets.

3. No administration fees – The laws of intestate succession require that your estate pay for an administrator to distribute the assets of the estate. With a well drafted will you can designate an executor of your choosing to distribute the estate. You can also direct that the executor administer the estate for little or no fee.

4. Chose your own representative – When you have a will prepared, you select an executor to administer the estate. You have the ability to select someone who is both trustworthy and competent to see that your wishes, not the states, are followed.

5. Chose your children’s guardian – Many people believe that they are too young to worry about a will. If you have any assets at all or have children then you need a will. Where will your children go if you should pass away? If you do not have a will the state will decide who will have custody of your children. Failing to settle this issue with a will frequently leads to high litigation costs as in-laws and relatives square off in the courtroom competing for guardianship. Such litigation drains the estate of assets that could be left to your children, drains competing family members of their assets and strains or destroys family relationships.

6. Disinherit unwanted heirs/Include new beneficiaries (paternity/heirship issues) – With a will you choose where the assets of the estate go. Without a will the state will not distribute money to your favorite charity. Without a will your assets will be distributed to family members without regard to need or affection.

7. Real Property – Planning your estate with a professional allows you to provide for certain assets to pass outside of the estate. Other legal documents, including trusts, deeds and insurance policies can effect what is considered to be part of your estate.

8. Tax considerations – The law regarding taxation is always changing, but a competent advisor can help you distribute your assets before and after death without allowing the tax man to take too big of a bite.

9. Succession consideration for businesses – Businesses are usually formed as perpetually enduring entities. However, what happens to your interest in the company when you pass? Does it fall to the other members? Or do your loved ones receive an ownership interest in the company? Your will and other legal instruments can smooth this process.

10. Burial and final care plans – The loss of a loved one is never easy. In addition to the unavoidable heartache, families who have no will to direct them are left to make decisions regarding your final arrangements without your direction. A well drafted will can ease this burden and allow your family to grieve instead.

The following language is required pursuant to Rule 7.2, Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


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