Yahoo Finance’s recent article on this subject asks “Do You Really Need a Will?” As the article explains, without a will, you'll be "intestate"—which means you'll have no say in what happens once you pass away.
Each state has laws that pertain to the distribution of a person's estate, if they die without a will. These laws most likely won’t mesh with your personal desires. If you don't have a will, ask yourself why you don't. Perhaps you think you don't need one. However, more than likely you do. If you're putting off starting this important estate planning task, here are some things to consider.
Just about everybody needs a will, but you definitely should have one if you're married, you have minor children, you have real estate, or you have investments in the stock market. You should also have a will if you have possessions, such as cars, furniture, jewelry, paintings, and computers … and who doesn't? In California, if you have assets that exceed $150,000, your assets could be subject to probate at your death.
As far as your money and possessions, you probably have some thoughts as to who gets what. You may want to chip in on the education of some younger relatives or give specific pieces of jewelry to those who you know will appreciate them. If you have minor children, you probably have very definite ideas about who should be their guardians if you die.
With a will, you have control. Without a will, the state in which you live will distribute your assets according to its laws, regardless of your wishes.
After you pass away, there could be surprise money coming to you, and without a will, you have no control over where these funds go. Your estate could get some cash from returned security deposits, medical reimbursements, or refunds from utility companies. Furthermore, if you die in a car accident and there's an insurance settlement, you have no say who gets those funds, which could be substantial.
You also need to think about your pets, and who would be the best person to care for your animals.
There’s also social media. Each organization, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, has specific guidelines for what happens when a user dies. If you don't state what you want done with these accounts in your will, they may stay open forever.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about your estate plan, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.
Reference: Yahoo Finance (July 21, 2019) “Do You Really Need a Will?”