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Last Will and Testament Importance

by Jeff Dailey
Last Will and Testament Importance

Did you know that only 35% of Americans have a Last Will and Testament, and only 29% have financial or healthcare power of attorney documents? Some reasons offered by the study for not having these important documents are listed below: Last Will and Testament Importance

  • 1 in 5 people (20%) thought that their assets would automatically transfer to their spouse or family
  • Another 20% thought it was too expensive
  • 11% didn’t believe it was necessary
  • 9% thought it just took too much time

Dying Without a Will
Last Will and Testament ImportanceEach state has its own laws that govern what happens to your property and your dependents. If you own property in multiple states, both sets of laws will need to be followed, and they could be different. The legal term for this type of law is an “intestacy law.”
Intestacy laws set forth a ranking, or order, of recipients your assets will be distributed to after you pass. While laws differ from state to state, generally the ranking provides that:

  • Assets will transfer to your spouse first
  • If you don’t have a spouse, then your children are next in line
  • If you have no children, then your parents – if they are still alive — receive your assets
  • If you have no living parents, your assets will go to your brothers and/or sisters
  • If you are an only child or your siblings aren’t alive, then your nieces and nephews stand next in the order to receive assets

How does this sound to you? Many people would probably agree that this order isn’t well-aligned with their actual intent. This not only applies to your financial assets but also to your precious items of personal importance.
Another major issue is applicable for those with minor children. If you and your spouse/partner pass at the same time and there is no will, the court will appoint a guardian. Most, if not all loving parents would agree that this would be a highly undesirable situation. This has an even greater impact for unmarried couples with minor children.
Bottom line
Without a will or appropriate legal documents, there will be no way to identify or honor your intentions.
For those of you who lack basic estate planning legal documents, check out our article on Top 7 Ways to Find an Estate Attorney, and How to prescreen estate planning attorneys to identify the right professional for you.
Get it together! Last Will and Testament Importance
Starting to gather and organize all of your important documents and thinking through your preferences now can save you time and money in the estate planning process.
Last Will and Testament Importance

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