While most people understand that they will need a Last Will and Testament, a recent Gallup poll shows that 46 percent of American adults do not have a will. If you are one of this group, whether due to simple procrastination or unwillingness to confront mortality, now is the time to reconsider and get in touch with a skilled estate planning attorney. In Southeastern Massachusetts or on Cape Cod, Surprenant & Beneski is a wise choice.
Benefits a Will Provides
Working with a well-respected attorney to draft a customized will enables you to do all of the following:
1. Name beneficiaries
A will lets you ensure that your possessions will be distributed according to your wishes. Though the passage of some of your property to your spouse or children will occur automatically, it is important to work with a knowledgeable will and trust lawyer to make sure your property is titled correctly.
2. Appoint a personal representative (executor)
Writing a will allows you to decide who will manage your estate when you pass away. Your personal representative must be carefully chosen since this individual will be in charge of notifying those concerned of your death, taking care of financial matters pertaining to your estate, including filing and preparing taxes, and seeing to it that your assets are properly distributed to your beneficiaries.
3. Appoint a guardian for any minor children
One of the reasons it’s imperative to have a will when you are still a young adult is to make certain you have named a responsible, loving guardian for your minor children in the event that you and the children’s other parent both pass away before they reach maturity.
4. Specify funeral/memorial wishes
Your will is also the place in which you can specify your wishes about your funeral or memorial, burial or cremation, or donation of one or more of your organs at the time of your death. In your will, you can also detail particular bequests of meaningful property to specific individuals (e.g. a coin collection, or an antique piece of jewelry).
5. Name a trust as a beneficiary
You may want to name a trust as a beneficiary in your will which can protect your assets from probate, excessive taxation, and creditors. You may also want to take this action if you have a minor child who requires a trustee to manage their inheritance until they reach maturity.
6. Make the legal process go more smoothly
The presence of a will makes the legal process following a death proceed more expeditiously. Not only that, it will lessen legal fees and make sure that your beneficiaries inherit as much as possible.
What happens if you die without a will (intestate)?
If you die intestate, the probate courts of Massachusetts will take over control of your assets, distributing them according to state laws of intestate succession. This means that a blood relative, however distant, has the chance to inherit from you rather than a very close friend or in-law.
Why Everyone Needs a Will
Don’t make the mistake of believing that your estate is too small for you to bother with a will. If you have fewer assets it may be all the more important that your heirs and/or other beneficiaries receive their share. Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you don’t need a will because you are young or middle-aged. The stark reality is that anyone can die suddenly in an accident or due to a medical event. Dying without a will is bound to result in increased stress for those you love most while they are grieving your loss.
Contact Our Experienced Will and Trust Attorneys Today
At Surprenant & Beneski, we have an in-depth knowledge of estate planning law to provide you with a will that is well-crafted and legally binding. Contact us now to get this vital document to ensure that your family’s future is protected.