Todd Artwell, Director of Fixed Income
- Clearly identify how your estate will be distributed. A will is a legally binding document that spells out how you would like your estate to be handled upon your death. If you die without a will, there is no guarantee those wishes will be carried out.
- Assigns the legal guardian who will take care of your children. Having a will allows you to appoint who you want to raise your children. Without a will, the courts will decide.
- Avoid a lengthy probate process. If you die without a will (known as “intestate”), the court will determine how to divide your estate. This may cause family strife and can cause long unnecessary delays.
- Minimize estate taxes. How you structure your will may allow you to minimize your estate taxes. A will enables you to give gifts and charitable donations, which can help offset the estate tax.
- You appoint an executor to wrap up the affairs of your estate. Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, cancelling credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments.
Having a will is one of the most important things you can do to avoid added stress on families during an already emotional time. Not only can a will legally protect your spouse, children, and assets, but it specifically outlines how you would like your estate distributed and ensures your estate will not end up in the wrong hands.
Life is unpredictable and we never know what each day will hold. It is easy to push off your will, but it is important to know it is revocable. This means that you can update your will at any time, and it is not final until your death.
To be completely certain that everything is in order, have your will prepared by an estate attorney. While online options can be less timely and expensive, individuals with a more complex estate may prefer to work with an attorney.