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What is the Importance of a Will?

We live our entire lives preparing for uncertain events. We save money in case we lose our jobs, or are injured and rendered unable to work, or to invest in some opportunity we hope will pay dividends down the line. We buy car insurance, health insurance, and we fund our 401(k)s all in the hopes of mitigating some future risk, or providing for some future set of circumstances.

But none of these things are guaranteed. We don't know if we'll get sick, or into a car accident, or ever even reach an age at which we can cash in that retirement account. But these possibilities are important to us, so we plan for them.

But what about an event we know will come to pass? Why don't we prepare for death the same way we prepare for life? It isn't as though our obligations end with death. Our children, spouses, and loved ones will go on.

Estate planning is as much, if not more, about them as it is about us, and we'll explore a few reasons why you should execute a last will and testament.

To Avoid Conflict

One of the most important reasons a person should have a will, particularly if they have significant assets, is to avoid any confusion or conflict upon their passing. By outlining who you want to take your money and property, you can give a definitive answer as to any competing interests in your estate.

The passing of money upon a person's death is one of the worst and most frequent causes of family discord, and your ability to avoid any such conflict will not only save your loved ones from the headache and heartbreak of a protracted legal battle, it will also save them the money it would cost to have a court divide up your belongings.

To Avoid a Long Probate

Every estate, with a last will and testament or without one, will be probated by a court before your heirs can be put into possession of what you leave behind. Without a will, the probate process can be lengthy and confusing. A will gives the court clear cut instructions on how to handle your property, thus avoiding often expensive and confusing legal proceedings.

To Ensure Your Assets Go Where You Want Them

Without a will, the law will assume you want your money and property going to your next of kin and nearest relatives. That is not always the case, however, and if you want to ensure certain friends or extended family are given property while other, closer, relations are not, you must have a will to ensure the property is divided per your wishes.

As unfortunate as it may sound, a last will and testament may also function as your last chance to say something (in the form of a gift or inheritance) to the ones you love. Don't pass without taking that opportunity to say a proverbial goodbye with your wealth.

If you have any further questions or concerns about your estate, contact a wills attorney at the Harber Law Firm as soon as possible.

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