A will (also called a last will and testament) is a legal document that coordinates the distribution of your assets after death. This document is important to have! It allows you to communicate your wishes after death clearly and precisely. It is advisable to work closely with an attorney to create and update your will. In case you are not convinced, here are 7 reasons you need a will:
– You decide how your estate will be distributed
Your property and assets will be distributed exactly how you want them to be! You get to decide who gets what after you die, decreasing the chance of a great legal struggle. Without a will, your assets are strictly divided according to the Georgia laws of Intestate Succession. (O.C.G.A § 53-2-1) A will gives you broad power to distribute your assets as you deem fit.
– You decide who is the executor of the will
Being an executor is an important job, including everything from closing bank accounts, dealing with the courts, to liquidating assets. With a will, you specify the person or persons who you trust to handle your affairs. If you do not have a will, the probate court can end up picking an executor for you. This may or may not have been who you would have chosen.
– You decide who takes care of your minor children
Without a will, the process of deciding guardianship can be tricky and can cause tensions within the family. Without a will, and without a surviving spouse, a probate judge could be deciding who your children are being placed with.
– To avoid a length probate process
A will can relieve your executor of some of the cumbersome requirements of the Georgia intestate succession laws. Without a will, your administrator will likely have to file an inventory and could have to post a bond. This is a labor intensive process is that not necessary to carry out the probate process, but is required under Georgia law if the will does not relieve the executor of these duties.
– Minimize estate taxes
Another value to having a will is minimizing estate taxes. Giving gifts and charitable donations will also help offset the estate taxes.
– You can make gifts and donations
If there are any important causes you care about or are significant to you, you can choose to leave donations to them. You can also choose to gift your possessions to whoever you would like.
– Provide funeral instructions
To save your mourning family stress, you can go ahead and leave funeral instructions in your will. This can also lessen family arguments on what you would like better, if the decisions have already been made.
Okay I need a will… What is my next step?
Contact an attorney! Lawyers are the best source for wills. They can help you draw up a valid will to suite your preferences. Your lawyer will also remind you that you probably need a power of attorney and an advanced directive (aka living will or health care proxy) to manage your finances and make medical choices if you are unable to do so yourself. For a free consultation, contact Harris & Hartman now at (706)- 861-0203 to talk with an experienced attorney! We have years of experience working with clients in Georgia and Tennessee.