If you are in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s and you think you are “too young” to have a Will here are some concerns to think about:
- If you have any minor children, a Will can nominate your choice for a guardian in the event of your death. Of course any surviving parent will have the right to custody over any nominated guardian. But what if there is no surviving parent? Or what if the other parent has no relationship with your child? If your Will nominates a guardian, a court will honor your selection of a guardian if no surviving parent is available. Also, if you haven’t nominated a guardian, well meaning family members might otherwise engage in a custody battle. Do you really want Grandma Helen battling it out with Uncle George for custody when your choice to care for your children is Aunt Susan?
- You probably own more property than you realize. If you are tempted to say I don’t need a Will because I don’t own anything, think again. Perhaps you have some property you’ve inherited yourself that you wish to leave to a particular family member. Do you have a car? Some money in a bank account? What about that collection of coins, dolls or trains you’ve had for years? Maybe you don’t own anything now, but hopefully you will in the future.
- Creating a Will allows you to direct who should receive your property. If you don’t have a Will, certain laws called “intestate succession” laws control who inherit your property. If you are married, those laws basically state that your spouse get your property UNLESS you have a child or children by a person other than your spouse. In this event, those children (whether adults or minors) get one-half of your estate. If this is not want you want, you need a Will. And if you are single without a Will, the intestate succession laws can vary as to who is to receive your property dependent on the members of your family.
- Sheila Harmer, Associate Attorney