Top 10 Reasons You Need a Will

Post by: Lesley Hempfling

You have minor children.

Provide for the smooth transition of your children at your death by naming Guardians of their Person (those people who will physically take care of them) and of their Estates (those people who will take care of their property).

You own real property.

Filing your Will and other probate documents in the county records is an efficient and easy way to provide clear title to the property.

You own brokerage accounts, financial accounts and/or other accounts that do not pass directly at your death under the contract terms.

These institutions will require you to show proof of your beneficiaries or heirs in order to transfer the accounts - a Will is a simple solution.

You never got around to naming a beneficiary on your life insurance, 401K, IRA or other pension/retirement account.

In most instances the proceeds will go to the "estate" - having a Will in place is much more cost effective than having the Court determine who your heirs are on its own.

You want to continue Charitable Giving after your death.

You can establish gifts to charities in many different ways in a Will.

You want to pass your property to someone on a government program (e.g. Medicaid) or who may need to qualify for a government program in the future.

Inheriting property outright (rather than in a special trust contained in your Will) could substantially interfere with certain government benefits.

At your death, your property passes to minors, incapacitated persons (e.g. someone who cannot make decisions on their own due to medical/mental conditions) and/or disabled persons.

Establishing "contingent trusts" in your Will is an easy way to provide for the distribution of property to these groups of people.

You own certain intellectual property (e.g. copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc.).

A Will provides an excellent mechanism for determining who will receive this property (e.g. maybe a museum, gallery, school).

You want to decide who will receive your property at your death.

If you do not have a Will, or other similar estate planning documents in place, the State of Texas has determined who will receive your property at your death.

You want to decrease or avoid paying federal estate taxes at your death.

There are significant benefits to tax planning if your estate is over the allowable exemption.