Do I Really Need a Will?

I'm not going to preach and claim that every person needs to create a Will, but given the relatively small amount of time and expense involved in making a Will, there are not many good excuses for not having a Will.  If you die without a Will (or other estate planning devices), the State basically creates a Will for you from the intestacy statutes and distributes your property according to these statutes.  You should definitely consider creating a Will if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

  • Do you have children?
  • Do you have minor children?
  • Do you want a specific person to be responsible for your children if you die?
  • Do you have children from a previous marriage?
  • Are you currently married?
  • Do you own real property (i.e. house, real estate)?
  • Do you wish to pass on property to non-family members?
  • Do you wish to have a specific person administer your estate when you die?
  • Do you wish to disinherit any of your children or other relatives?
  • Do you have a child who is an addict?
  • Do you wish to pass specific property to specific people?
  • Do you wish to leave money or property to charity?
  • Do you have a large family?
  • Do you have feuding family members or children?
  • Do you want to make the administration of your estate easier on your family during their time of grief?

This is by no means a complete list and there probably is no complete list.  Note:  a Will is not the only estate planning tool that can accomplish your goals related to these questions.  An estate planning attorney will be able to implement the right planning for your estate planning goals in a flexible and cost-effective manner.