The importance of a Will
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
Over the years, many surveys have been conducted showing that more than 50% of Americans do not have a will. On top of that, studies have found that nearly 70% of people that have Wills, have out of date Wills.
What is the purpose of a Will? A Will allows you to leave a legacy and makes sure your assets, whatever it is that you have, goes to who you would wish, rather than having the court decide who gets what. It also keeps your loved ones from fighting over your estate.
The more important purpose of having a Will is to help your loved ones during a time that they are most likely to be vulnerable. Mourning is not easy, but you can help your loved ones by creating a Will (at the very least) so that they are aware of your wishes. As well as help them avoid the headache of Probate if possible.
There are many misconceptions around creating a Will. Many believe that they do not need a Will simply because they think they do not have enough assets or that they are not old enough. What people do not realize is that a Will only goes into effect when you pass. For all you know, when you pass, you may have a significant asset and without a Will, it could end up in the wrong hands. As for age, age is just a number and we do not know at what age we will pass. The older we get, especially in the senior years, the possibility of losing mental capacity is higher. Wills must be written while you have the mental capacity to do so otherwise you are opening yourself up to possible Will challenges by heirs. It’s better to write a Will while you have the capacity to do so and update it every so often.
Many assume that if they pass without a Will, their estate will be distributed to their spouse. This is a very poor assumption to make since in California, the questions of what is Community Property and what is Separate Property would need to be answered. Further, if you have a blended family, things become more complicated. If you have minor children, having a Will in place is crucial as naming guardians will help avoid your children ending up in the care of Child Protective Services or foster care.
The longer you wait to write a Will, the higher the chances you have of passing intestate as there is never really a "right time" to write a Will. It is also very important to reach out to a legal professional when it comes to preparing your Will. Using Do-It-Yourself methods can lead to significant mistakes and are often expensive to correct.
Contact a legal professional at the Law Office of Ishajeet Kakkar to assess your Estate Planning needs. It is the least you can do for your family to protect them and show them you care.