Why is it important to have a will?

Estate planning can be a complex process. If you have recently started it, you may not know what documents you need to include in your plan. As you take stock of your property and personal circumstances, you may wonder if drafting a will is necessary. Yet, everyone needs a will, since it acts as a safeguard against undesirable outcomes down the road.

Why wills are essential

One reason you must draft a will is because it will ensure your property ends up with the people you want it to. Without a will, your property will pass to your closest next of kin, as determined by Florida’s intestate succession laws. While you may want this individual to receive part of your estate, it may be unlikely you want them to inherit it in full. It is also possible you may be estranged from your closest next of kin. By failing to draft a will, your estate, based on state law, could end up in their hands.

Another reason you must draft a will is to establish who you want to handle your personal affairs. In your will, you will appoint a personal representative – usually a trusted relative or associate – to take care of them. Your personal representative will also gather your property after you die, and they will manage it until they can pass it along to your beneficiaries. If you fail to draft a will, the court will appoint an administrator to fulfill these duties, and they may handle them in a way you would not approve of.

Furthermore, having a will is imperative if you have minor children. This is because you will use it to name a guardian for them in case you die before they reach the age of maturity. If this happens and you lack a will, the court will appoint a guardian for your children, who may not be the individual you would want to take care of them.

Everyone needs a will

If you are young, single and have few or no assets, you may believe that there is no reason for you to have a will. Yet, even in this situation, you may want to draft a simple will – as a precaution – that lays out your intentions. If you are married, have children or have significant assets, drafting a will is essential, since you will want to make sure your loved ones are cared for and your property ends up in the right hands.

Wills are an essential estate planning tool, and it is important that you have one in place. To make sure your will is comprehensive and valid, you will want to seek the help of an estate planning attorney in drafting it.