Sometimes people say they have no need for a will because they are not old or because they do not have children. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A will has three primary purposes. First and foremost, to make sure that your assets are distributed to the individual or individuals to whom you desire. Occasionally, clients will ask to whom an asset should be directed. Your will is a unique opportunity to direct how your property, which you have accumulated during your life, will be distributed and, by the time the will is read, no one can complain to you.
The second typically important aspect of a will is designating who will administer your estate. The author of a will designates an Executor or Executrix to gather his or her assets, identify and pay liabilities, make the required reports and filings, pay taxes if due and distribute the remaining assets, all as specifically directed in the will.
Thirdly, sometimes tax can be saved by directing the estate be handled in a certain way. Often, a properly executed will saves costs during probate and reduces the time the estate must be in existence and may reduce or eliminate stress or disputes among heirs and loved ones left behind.
While doing a will, a person may also want to think about executing a Power of Attorney. You may not contemplate being incapacitated, but most people do not really have notice of impending disability. A Power of Attorney is not only used for permanent disability, but may also be useful during temporary disability or when a person is just unable to attend to their business, such as being away on business, but needs someone to transact matters for them.
People now frequently also execute a medical directive or what is sometimes called a living will, indicating what end of life care or other medical procedures are or are not desired in the event that the patient is unable to communicate his or her wishes and, particularly, if the medical care is likely to only prolong life or result in living in a vegetative state.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You should consider your need for a will, estate plan, Power of Attorney or a living will now.