5 Reasons moms need a will
Having a will is more important once you have kids.
It is hard to overstate how important it is to have a will or some other estate planning document. In addition to giving yourself peace of mind, clearly stating your last wishes can avoid heartache and confusion for your family and save thousands of dollars in unnecessary estate taxes and legal fees. But in spite of all the reasons for having a will, less than half of all Americans currently have one.
While virtually everyone needs a will, mothers especially need to put their affairs in order for five reasons:
- Stating who will be the guardian of your children
For parents, probably the most important purpose estate planning serves is to clearly define who will care for your children in the event that you and your spouse are no longer able. Without a will, a judge can choose who will be responsible for kids in the event you and your spouse pass away. The only way to make certain that the right person is in charge of your children is to have a will or other estate planning document in place that specifies who will be the guardian of your children.
- Protecting your assets from poor management
The administrator of an estate has broad power to manage and distribute your assets. Needless to say, that power in the wrong hands can be devastating to your estate and leave your children and other heirs with nothing. To avoid the mismanagement of your estate’s assets, you must think long and hard about who is the most responsible person to manage your estate and make certain that your attorney properly memorializes that person as administrator in your will.
- Delaying transfer of assets until children reach a responsible age
Without a will in place, any assets that are left to your children will automatically transfer to them at the age of 18. Since most 18-year-olds lack the maturity to take on such a big responsibility, you may want to transfer assets to your children when they are older. Or if you want to specify what your heirs can do with their inheritance, like pay for college, a properly drafted will can do that too.
- Transferring assets to your intended heirs
When someone passes away and no will is in place, a court-appointed representative is required to distribute assets according to a strict, inflexible schedule that is mandated by North Carolina statute. If you want to leave specific items to particular beneficiaries or if you want to give your administrator flexibility, you must have a written estate plan in place that says so.
- Avoiding costly and unnecessary fees and taxes for family members
In North Carolina, when there is no will in place, a court-appointed administrator is required to post a bond that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the estate. However, with just a little estate planning, you can avoid these fees and might also be able to reduce your estate taxes.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship.