Why everyone should have a will in their estate plan

Whether you're a young adult or pushing 50, the need for a will is present. You never know when the unthinkable could happen, and you need to be able to describe what you want to happen with your estate. You may not have much to speak of in terms of value in your estate, or you might have a high-asset estate to split up. In any case, having an attorney help you draw up a will is an important step to take.

Is it important to include a will in your estate plan?

Yes. A will does more than just give property to one person or another. It can tell people you love how you want your estate to be divided, who is in charge of guardianship matters and other important information. Without a will, the division of your property may fall to the state.

Using a will also helps you plan for taxes and other financial impacts your death could have. It's important to plan a method of distribution that will result in the least amount of taxes as possible for the people you've left behind, so there are no surprises. You can also create trusts or other important arrangements, so you know that your wealth will be given to the correct person and used appropriately.

What happens if no will is present at the time of a person's death?

If no will is present, then the factors a court may look at include if you were married, if you have an ex-spouse, if you have children or if minors are affected. The court may determine how to divide your estate, breaking it up in ways you may not have wished for.

Source: Perry Tribune, "Including a will in estate planning is essential," Bill Rockwell, Aug. 23, 2016

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