One of the most significant legal documents an individual can prepare is a will. This important document allows you to entrust your assets and property to your loved ones. In the event of death, the document ensures that your estate is properly distributed among your chosen beneficiaries. If you don’t have this essential document in place, you could face sizable consequences, including the ones listed below.
Why Establishing a Will is Important
1. The State Will Decide Guardianship for Your Children
If you’re a parent, you can use your will to designate a guardian for your minor children or adult children with special needs and to provide support for them. When you don’t name someone, the court appoints a guardian. This is especially important for single parents.
2. You Can’t Choose Who Receives Your Property
When you don’t have a will but own property such as real estate or financial accounts, state law—known as Intestate Succession Laws—determines who receives those assets. If you die before establishing a will, these laws distribute your estate among people whom you may not want to receive your assets. By drafting the proper legal documents, you can give your property to your loved ones.
3. Family Disputes and Additional Expenses Can Arise
A common result of dying without a will is having family members argue over who should receive particular personal items. If you don’t establish a will, your property may be divided equally among your children and spouse. Because a will allows you to leave a certain share to your loved ones, your children—whom you may want to leave a larger share of assets to—may receive the same amount as your spouse if you don’t establish clear distribution wishes.
When you establish a will, you avoid having the court regulate the distribution of property among designated beneficiaries. However, without a will, your assets automatically become probate property, meaning that the court must decide the new owners of your estate. This process is often costly and time consuming.
When you prepare your will, you can rest assured that your loved ones will be rid of confusion and unnecessary financial burden. The legal documents you need are available at We The People of NY. This Chelsea-based document has more than 25 years of document preparation experience. Visit their website to learn how they can assist you in preparing your will or call (212) 633-2200 to schedule an appointment.