Depending on a person’s marital status, age, and other factors, it may be unclear whether a will is necessary. However, there are specific circumstances when a will is appropriate.
What Is a Will and Why Do People Need One?
Wills are a type of legal document that determine how a person’s assets are distributed upon a person’s death and to whom. The creator of a will is referred to as the testator. Without a will that names specific beneficiaries and executors, these decisions will fall under state law. Will planning can help make sure assets go to the right recipients and keep them from winding up in the wrong hands. In addition, a will can also help protect any children that the testator has by securing their inheritance and selecting trusted guardians.
If an individual is single, young, lacking in financial assets, and doesn’t have children, a will generally isn’t needed. However, estate planning for the future may be the right step to take in the following instances.
For Married Individuals
If someone is married, it’s usually best to get a will because spouses are deeply connected to each other when it comes to their assets. Married individuals should create a will to dictate which assets will belong to their spouse upon the testator’s death. In most cases, spouses inherit the other’s assets regardless of whether a will is in place, but the creation of a will helps prevent any issues when distributing assets. A will can also list others in addition to a spouse to prevent the spouse from being the default recipient of all assets.
For Individuals with Children
People with children will need to create a will because, while children are likely to inherit assets upon a parent’s death after the parent’s spouse, this isn’t always the case. If someone wishes to have their children inherit assets after a spouse, it helps to have these details included in a will, which can prevent any problems regarding the court’s interpretation. Parents can also choose to omit one or more of their children from a will if needed, ensuring they don’t receive certain assets.
Regardless of whether an individual wants his or her children to receive assets, it’s best to create a will to make sure the testator’s wishes are fulfilled one way or the other. Additionally, creating a will with children in mind can entail listing an executor along with a guardian for children involved. While the named guardian can help make sure that children are in good hands, an executor of the estate can further ensure that children receive or don’t receive an inheritance upon the testator’s death.
For People with Assets Exceeding $100,000
Even if a property owner is single and without kids, if he or she has a positive net worth of over $100,000, then he or she will benefit from having either a living trust or a will. While a will can distribute these assets upon the person’s death, a living trust will immediately go into effect as soon as the testator signs it.
If a person meets any of the criteria for creating a will, it will be in his or her best interests to create one.