Reasons You Must Have A Will

Recent surveys have shown approximately 50% or more of adults in our country do not have an estate plan. A Last Will & Testament is typically part of a well-rounded estate plan, and provides the foundation to ensure you leave a positive legacy. Without a Last Will & Testament, there could be an array of problems and missed opportunities. Here are a few:

  1. Executor: You need an Executor of your estate or else leaving it up to the state and your family to determine who will run the show. For example, If you have three children, they’re all eligible to serve, so if they disagree on who should lead, that dispute could end up in court. Make your wishes clear by naming an Executor (and backups!).
  2. Intestate Laws: Every state has “Intestate” laws that govern what happens to your estate if you die without a Will. In Pennsylvania, if you’re married with children and do not have a Will, your spouse and children will both receive an inheritance from you. If your intent is to leave everything to your spouse if you die first, you cannot control that unless you have a Will.
  3. Underage & Special Needs Beneficiaries: Underage and special needs beneficiaries require particular attention, where the use of a trust under a Will is necessary. If there is any possibility of leaving assets to grandchildren (even indirectly), you should have a conditional trust in your Will.
  4. Adult Beneficiaries: Even adult beneficiaries sometimes require trusts to protect them from themselves and others. Some adult beneficiaries are spendthrifts, addicts or have problems and receiving an outright inheritance would be dangerous. Other beneficiaries are responsible, but you may want to ensure the inheritance is kept in the bloodlines, and does not go to your favorite son-in-law or daughter-in-law. The only way to achieve this is to use a trust, which can be drafted within a Will.
  5. Personal Property & More: Disputes could occur no matter the size or value of an object. Sometimes the smallest items cause the biggest conflicts. Families are complex, and if you want to ensure a conflict-free legacy, a Will is the only way to guarantee that your wishes are adhered to and disputes avoided.