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Estate Law Basics: do you need a will?
Estate Law Basics: do you need a will?

One of the many reasons that people delay estate planning is that they aren’t sure whether they need a will or other documents.  They may also be concerned about the cost of the process or uncomfortable thinking about what happens when they pass away.  For now, let’s look at reasons to have a will.  Do any of these apply to you?

  • You have children
  • You own a house, with or without a partner
  • You have mutual funds or other investments
  • You’re recently divorced

As this list shows, you probably need a will, as well as powers of attorney and a living will.

Of course, needing an estate plan and actually getting it done are two different things.  But let’s think about the advantages of taking the leap and getting an estate plan.

First, you can stop thinking about it!  You may be wasting time and energy thinking about the consequences of not having a plan.  Instead, you can be confident in knowing that you have a plan ready for when your family will need it.

Family is the second reason to get it done.  If you have children or siblings or parents, they will not have to go through intestate probate when you die.  They will know what you want for yourself if you become incapacitated, and what your wishes are when you pass away.  An estate plan is a gift to the people you love.

Finally, if you give a lawyer a call, you’ll probably find that an estate plan is a reasonable expense.  It is certainly much cheaper than what your family will pay for guardianship proceedings or intestate probate.  It is a conversation worth having.

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