When it comes to the important responsibilities shared by every adult, there are a few documents that should always be up to date. These include a power of attorney, a potential DNR order, organ donor designations, and so on. One document, however, tends to be prioritized as it is the most important piece of paper a person can have – their will.
A will is a written depiction of someone’s final wishes that sets guidelines for how their possessions will be divided. Although the benefits of it seem quite obvious, there are a lot of overlooked factors that come into play when putting together a will.
Helps Avoid Problems with Succession
When a person dies, the state looks to see if they had a living will at the date of their death. If so, they use it to divide all of their belongings. If the deceased party had no will, however, the state uses its succession laws to pass down property. For example, when a person without a will dies, all of their items will generally be given to the next of kin and the first in line. That is usually the spouse or the children.
In many cases, as financial advisers from Knightsbridge PCS note, succession is not reflective of someone’s true wishes. Just consider, for example, married couples living separately. Well, although the deceased person may not want all of their belongings to go to the spouse living separately from them, that is what the state will order.
Name the Executor
Having a will is not the end of the venture when it comes to divvying up someone’s belongings. On the contrary, it is just the beginning. The reason why is the fact that there are many laws and tax implications that have to be obeyed throughout the process. Well, to remain compliant and minimize unexpected costs, the will identifies an executor.
For those unfamiliar, an executor is a person who carries out the will and makes sure that the deceased party’s wishes are fulfilled. Once again, failing to have a will means that the state will be the executor instead of somebody who knew the person who passed.
Minimize Family Conflict
Think back to the scenario with the married couple living separately. If the wife receives all of her husband’s property through succession, children and other relatives may be extremely unsatisfied. This easily perpetuates harsh arguments that can permanently damage family bonds.
To make sure that no such divisions take place, one can create a will that explicitly names everyone who is going to receive something. Therefore, the room for arguments about unjust enrichment is minimized.
After someone’s death, the federal government comes in to take a final piece of their overall estate through taxes. Well, the more that they keep to themselves at death, the higher the tax imposed will be. To reduce this liability, the person can plan to give out gifts as they are creating their will. Since the IRS permits people to give away things to others with no tax implications, their estate can be reduced by the cumulative value of such gifts. Consequently, the tax will be taken as a percentage of a smaller number.
Staying Out of Probate
Although having a will does not keep someone’s property out of the probate, it definitely helps it go faster. This is what takes place once the court starts reviewing the deceased party’s estate and coming up with ways to divide it. So, in the words of Knightsbridge PCS, a will helps speed up the process to get one’s assets to their loved ones. That way, families may avoid facing financial challenges that often arise with high funeral expenses.
Peace of Mind
In the end, one of the most important factors when it comes to making a will is the overall peace of mind. In translation, people who have a solid will never have to worry about losing their assets after death or putting their friends and family in debt. Moreover, it allows them to pinpoint what will take place once they are no longer around. Not to mention the never-ending legal concerns that can arise when there is no living will on file. So, this document is probably one of the most important records that everyone should put together with their attorney.