A Last Will and Testament, known as a “Will,” is a legal document that gives instructions on how the deceased
would like their final wishes carried out in terms of property, care of children, and assets. While many understand
that having a Will is important, the reason for its importance is often unknown.
If an individual passes away without a valid Will, the court will step in and make decisions on behalf of the
deceased. In other words, if you pass away without a Will, the court can and will decide the Guardian of your
children without knowing your wishes or that of the children. Additionally, the court also names a Personal Representative of the Will to distribute your assets. Essentially, vital decisions about the future of your family are in the hands of strangers.
Without a valid Will, individuals give up all control in protecting the future of their family. Additionally, not having a Will can also delay the distribution of assets, causing funds to be frozen until a later time. With funeral expenses and medical bills, this alone causes unnecessary and added stress at a time of great pain and loss.
If you are married, do not assume that your spouse will automatically inherit everything. Other family members such as parents, siblings and children can have a claim on your estate. Further complications arise if you are living as a couple but are not legally married, which may result in the court treating you as a single person, eliminating your partner from receiving anything from your estate.
If you created a Will years ago and have experienced life changes such as marriage, divorce or the birth of a child, be sure to update the document with your most current wishes.
Whatever your situation, having a legal Will in place is the only means to ensure that your family is protected and that your wishes are carried out after your death. Making a Will can offer peace of mind and confidence in knowing that you have done everything in your power to take care of your loved ones after you have passed.