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Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea of NOT having a Will

What is a Last Will and Testament?

A Last Will and Testament certainly sounds like a complex document. But, when boiled down, your will answers just three simple, yet important questions.

  1. Who do you want to inherit your assets?

A will provides for the orderly distribution of your property at death according to your wishes. By property, I mean everything you own. Your property includes both tangible and intangible things. (An example of tangible items would be your stamp collection. An example of an intangible asset would be stocks and bonds.)

  1. Who do you want to be in charge of carrying out your wishes as expressed in the Will?

In a will, you also name the “executor” of your estate. The executor is the person who’s responsible for making sure the will is implemented as written. Needless to say, this is a very important position, and you want to name someone you can trust completely, and you know to be responsible and competent.

  1. Who do you want to take care of your kids?

If you have minor children (i.e., kids under age 18), you’ll want to designate a legal guardian(s) who will take care of your children until they are adults. Also, a will can set up a financial trustee (may be the same as the guardian, or may not) who can oversee and be responsible for your child’s funds until s/he is old enough (and mature enough) to inherit property.

mom and daughter holding hands

Without a Will, There’s No Way

Without a will, you’ve given no guidance to anyone about who should inherit your property, who should be in charge of carrying out your wishes, and who you want to be your kids’ legal guardian. Not having a will means creating at the very least unneeded stress and heartache and at the worst total chaos for your loved ones and friends. This heartache would also come at the worst possible time—when they are mourning your passing.

I’ll come right out and say it…to not have a will, written by an experienced estate planner, is the height of irresponsibility. Especially when you consider that the estate planning process can be broken down into just five steps. The best place to start is with my Estate Plan Questionnaire.

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