Yes, if you want to ensure your intentions are carried out. If you die “intestate” (without a will), your state’s laws will determine the disposition of your assets. Your actual wishes may not be carried out even if family and friends are aware of your desires and set out to accomplish them.
There are some basic things a Will should cover. One is the selection of an Executor/Executrix. This is the person you choose to administer your estate and carry out your wishes. You should always select at least one alternate person in case the first person cannot do it. The person selected would become legally responsible for handling your affairs after you die. He or she will gather and distribute your assets and take care of any other requirements, such as paying any outstanding bills, filing tax returns and making tax payments.
Another important step is to make sure that all your assets have specific disposition instructions. A properly drafted Will can save money and lots of headaches for your heirs, and may prevent disputes that would otherwise arise. Further, if you have children who have not reached the age of majority, you can appoint a guardian of your minor children should you and your spouse die. You should designate at least one alternate in case your first choice is unable to fulfill the role. See my upcoming blog entry on “How to Select a Guardian”.
Attorney Peters practices in the area of estate planning and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 883-0797 extension 523.