Your Will expresses your desire for the distribution of your assets after you pass on. This seems simple in principle, but in practice, it’s another story. Even the most straightforward estates must pass through the legal system. It’s for this and at least eight other reasons that you should create a Will even if you don’t think you need one.
1. Avoid Undesirable Outcomes
Undesirable outcomes fall into a number of categories. If you have a large estate, your family might face overwhelming legal issues they’re unprepared for if you leave no Will. In the ideal scenario, your Will outlines how the executor should distribute your belongings. This leaves your family and friends the space to deal with other more immediate issues, including grief.
Which.co.uk also reminds readers that rows can more easily crop up between your family members if you leave no Will. Many of these disputes leave bad feelings that remain permanently. Prevent this from happening by clearly laying out your wishes in your Will. Say who gets what and when.
2. Donations to Your Favourite Cause Can Continue
If you’ve donated faithfully to a charity or cause, think of leaving something for this organization in your Will. You can set up specific funds that allow for long-term donations once you pass. A good fund manager ensures that your favorite causes have money coming to them for many years.
3. Welfare of Your Young Kids
The idea of leaving your young children orphaned probably counts among your worst nightmares. However, if your children are still young, you must provide for their guardianship in your Will. You may not want to think about it, but you need to.
It isn’t enough to make verbal agreements with a family member or a godparent. A Will tells the courts exactly who will take your kids after your death. This cuts down on the legal disputes that could follow. More importantly, it ensures that your kids don’t get passed around from house to house while the courts decide who gets them.
4. Your Pets Have a Home After You Pass Away
Your pets are just as important as your family. In fact, they are family. As such, they deserve the best care. However, the law doesn’t view them as family members. It views them as your property. It will treat them as property after you pass away unless you make other arrangements.
A close friend or relative can transition into a pet mom or dad if you set it up in your Will. It’s possible to leave behind financial support for your pet as well.
5. You Provide for Dependants and Unmarried Partners
It isn’t enough to decide who watches your kids grow up if you die prematurely. Your kids must also have some sort of financial support. Your Will allows you to allocate funds for their long-term care. In this document, you direct how the guardians use your kids’ trust. This includes determining the particulars of their education and how much money they may receive once they come of age.
If you have a partner but aren’t legally married, your Will can spell out what your partner receives. This legal document can protect your partner should disputes arise between your partner and your family.
This provision may require the help of your financial planner. It may also require you to work with a barrister if you’re leaving valuable property to your partner or dependent children.
Conversely, if you decide that there are people you’d like to leave out of your estate, your Will gives you a place to do that, too.
6. Manage Digital Assets and Intellectual Property
Nowadays, the digital world holds as much or more value than any real property does. If you have considerable digital assets, like NFTs or mailing lists for lucrative businesses, arrange for their distribution in your Will.
Your digital assets may also include assets of a more personal nature, like family photos or videos. If your digital assets represent a sizable portion of your estate, then hire a digital executor specifically for this task.
You can also create your last will and testament digitally. Going this route allows you to keep all of your digital assets in one place.
7. Save Time when Your Estate is in Probate
Your estate will spend some time in the courts and your Will partially determines how long this process lasts. If you leave detailed instructions for the welfare of your dependents, your partner, and your property, you leave fewer grey areas for the courts to determine.
8. Come to Terms With the End of Your Life
At some point, you must face the truth. Everyone’s life has an end, including yours. When you create your Will, it gives you a chance to come to terms with this fact.
For most people, this is a disconcerting feeling, the thought of not existing any longer. However, from a philosophical standpoint, it doesn’t need to be.
If anything, writing about your eventual death in the form of a Will allows you to consider the life you have left. You’ll likely make the most of the remainder of your life because you’ve taken the time to make a Will.
9. Make Arrangements for Your Funeral
After you’ve come to terms with the inevitable end of your life, making funeral arrangements becomes simpler. Within the pages of your Will, you can write out wishes for your funeral and burial, including how such arrangements will be paid for.
Arranging your funeral ahead of your death does more for your loved ones than you know. By not making arrangements for your funeral and burial, you set your loved ones up for heartache at a time when heartache is already plentiful.
As far as planning things go, few people actually want to write their Will. Maybe you’re among them. But you do a disservice to your loved ones when you don’t leave a Will. Navigating the storms of grief is difficult enough, with having to figure out your estate, too. Save your loved ones the additional grief by leaving a Will to guide them.