The first thing many of our clients ask is “Do I even need a will?” No matter who they are, our answer is the same “yes!” we tell them, “you do!” When you don’t have a will, your loved ones can use a lot of time and money after you’re gone – in some cases everything is gone by the time your estate finishes going through probate, which means your family is left with nothing! By not having a will your family could be subject to the anxiety of court proceedings when they should be grieving.
Still not sure if you need a will? Here are four major reasons – not the only reasons – that wills are one of the most important estate planning documents that you, and anyone you love, should absolutely have. If you still have questions about wills once you finish reading, give Community Law Office’s will writing experts a call at (319) 200-7050 to get them answered!
- Avoid probate – without a will, probate courts and Iowa lawmakers decide everything about your estate
- One of the most important things to understand is you have a will already (even if you didn’t write it). When some dies without a plan, the laws of their state function as that person’s will. If you pass away without a will, you leave decisions from who will inherit your home to who will take care of your pet to lawmakers and courts to decide. You may even leave the decision of where your kids go to the courts and lawmakers too!
- Choose guardian(s) for you child(ren) – without a will, the court and lawmakers will choose a guardian for your child(ren)
- Yes, you read that right – if you don’t have a will, the courts and lawmakers get to decide who takes care of you child(ren) if something happens to you. One of the benefits of having a will is that you get to decide who will care for your minor child(ren), ensuring that they are taken care of by the person that you want, not who the court and lawmakers choose for you. Even if you’ve gone “no contact” with a parent, sibling, etc., there’s still a chance that person could end up raising your child!
- Choose who makes decisions about your estate – without a will, the courts and lawmakers get to choose the executor of your estate
- If you die without a will, probate courts are forced to name an executor. The executor manages your estate tasks like paying your creditors and distributing your assets to any heirs. If the court has to pick the executor of your estate, there is always a chance that you would not have approved of that person had you made the choice when you were alive.
- If you have a will, though, you will name an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your final wishes, paying your bills, and distributing your assets exactly as you wanted.
- Give gifts – if you don’t have a will, you can’t give your favorite people gifts from your estate.
- If you die without a will, your estate assets such as your house, savings, car, and other personal property, will pass to your heirs under Iowa law. There’s no chance to give your child that precious family heirloom! This prevents direct gifts from you to your favorite people and even charities if you wish. Gifts in your will can ensure that your property is given to who you want, and any charities are supported into the future.
Do you have a will? If not, and you are looking to start your estate plan, call Community Law Office at (319) 200-7050 now! We offer free consultations and love to help our clients manage their individual situations to determine what estate planning tools are best! Reach out via our website, CommunityLawOffice.com, or phone, (319) 200-7050, to talk with one of our estate planning attorneys today!