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Layin’ It on the Line: To have a will or not to have a will, that is the question

By Lyle Boss - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Apr 24, 2024

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Lyle Boss

The question of whether to have a will is a critical consideration for anyone who wishes to have control over how their assets are distributed after their passing. A will serves as a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and assets, guardianship of minor children and other important matters upon your death. Despite its importance, many people overlook or postpone creating a will due to various reasons, while others recognize its significance and prioritize this essential task.

To begin with, having a will provides a clear plan for the distribution of your estate. Without a will, state laws (known as intestacy laws) determine how your assets will be distributed, which may not align with your wishes. By creating a will, you can specify who will inherit your property, belongings, investments and other assets. This allows you to provide for loved ones, allocate specific items to individuals and potentially minimize disputes among family members.

Moreover, a will allows you to appoint guardians for minor children. This is a critical consideration for parents, as it ensures that their children will be cared for by individuals they trust in the event of their untimely passing. Without a will, the court will decide who will assume guardianship, which may not align with your preferences.

Another key benefit of having a will is the ability to designate an executor. The executor is responsible for carrying out the instructions outlined in your will, including distributing assets, settling debts and handling legal matters. By appointing a trusted individual as your executor, you can ensure that your wishes are executed efficiently and according to your intentions.

In addition to the practical benefits, having a will can help minimize stress and uncertainty for your loved ones during a difficult time. A well-drafted will provides clarity and guidance, which can alleviate confusion and potential conflicts among family members. Knowing that your affairs are in order can offer peace of mind both for you and your loved ones.

Despite these compelling reasons to have a will, some individuals may hesitate or delay creating one for various reasons. Common misconceptions include assuming that a will is unnecessary if you have few assets or believing that estate planning is only for the wealthy. However, regardless of the size of your estate, a will ensures that your wishes are honored and your loved ones are provided for according to your intentions.

Others may avoid creating a will due to discomfort with contemplating mortality or uncertainty about the process. However, with the guidance of legal professionals specializing in estate planning, creating a will can be a straightforward and empowering process. Estate planning attorneys can assist you in understanding the legal requirements, drafting a comprehensive will and ensuring that your wishes are legally binding.

In conclusion, the decision of whether to have a will is a crucial consideration that impacts your loved ones and the legacy you leave behind. While the task of creating a will may seem daunting or uncomfortable, the benefits far outweigh any hesitation. A will provides you with the opportunity to assert control over your estate, protect your loved ones and provide clarity during a challenging time. Ultimately, having a will empowers you to shape your legacy and ensure that your wishes are respected after your passing.

Lyle Boss, a native Utahn, is a member of Syndicated Columnists, a national organization committed to a fully transparent approach to money management. Boss Financial, 955 Chambers St., Suite 250, Ogden, UT 84403. Telephone: 801-475-9400.


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