From time to time, a celebrity with a vast estate passes away without a will or proper plan to distribute their assets. This thrusts their family into a potential minefield. Without making their wishes known in a will, they leave it up to the state to seize their assets and distribute them to survivors according to probate guidelines.
Even those who support the probate process must admit that it is far less personal and considerate than a will, which lays out who specifically receives certain property. Even if the deceased person told family members they would receive this or that from the estate, the probate process does not consider this legally biding and will not honor it.
If you have any estate at all, and do not wish to place unnecessary strain on your loved ones when you pass away, it is essential to create a valid will. While estate planning can become complex as you build and refine your plan, a strong will establishes a firm foundation to keep your rights secure and your wishes respected.
Your family and loved ones deserve clarity
Very few things have the power to destroy family relationships like conflicts over the wishes of a loved one who has passed away. This is especially true as we grow older, because it is entirely possible for a person to indicate one set of preferences to a loved one, and indicate another set of preferences to someone else. For many of us, these small mistakes are forgotten as soon as we make them, but our loved ones and beneficiaries may remember them clearly.
In fact, one of the best ways that you can prepare your loved ones for the way in which you wish to distribute your estate is to go over the contents of the will with them while you are still living and have mental clarity.
By holding a reading of your will, you can answer any questions that your loved ones have, or explain any perceived imbalances in your bequests. If, for instance, you have three children and choose to give one child a significantly larger bequest than the other children, it may be wise to explain why you chose to do this. If you do not clarify this choice, they will fill in the blanks on their own, and often resent you and each other in the process.
If, after creating your will, you change some aspect of it, it is wise to make sure that you communicate these changes to the affected parties. While the law does not require you to communicate this clearly, your beneficiaries will ultimately value the clarity instead of wondering what you truly intended once it is too late.
Act now for peace of mind
Putting off estate planning is an excellent way to miss out on it entirely. None of us has any guarantee of even another whole day, let alone years or months. Now is the time to protect your rights and wishes for your estate with a will that clearly lays out your wishes.