Wills are one of the most common and recognized estate planning tools. The purpose of a will is to ensure your directives are carried out according to your wishes. Wills can designate beneficiaries and the assets to which each beneficiary is entitled. Your will can also assign guardians for your minor children and more. Unfortunately, many individuals pass away without creating an estate plan.
The problem with postponing estate planning is that you run the risk of dying without a will. If that happens, your assets will be distributed according to Ohio state intestacy laws. Normally, people eligible to inherit your assets would be designated by you, in your will. Similarly, your will can include specific directives to exclude certain people from inheriting assets, or include chosen heirs outside your family.
When to write or update your will
- Start savings or other financial accounts: When you start savings, investment, retirement or other financial accounts, you should determine where your money will go in case of your death. Some accounts may allow you to list beneficiaries.
- Death of a spouse or other family member: Upon the death of someone named in your will as a beneficiary, executor or trustee, you should consider updating your estate planning.
- Marriage and remarriage: Marriage and remarriage often result in commingled assets. Write or update a will to ensure that your spouse and children are provided for after your death.
- Divorce: Most individuals do not want their ex-spouse to inherit any of their assets, should they pass away. Divorce can also change property ownership and assets. This is an important time to review your will and make any necessary changes.
- Property ownership: Purchasing a home or other real estate is likely one of the largest investments people make. Be sure to write or update your will any time you buy or sell a property.
- Birth of child or grandchild: When children and grandchildren arrive, you may want to provide for them in your will. Parents should also assign a guardian for their children in the event both parents pass away.
- Receive an inheritance: Finally, if you receive an inheritance, create or update your will to ensure it passes to the appropriate heir after your death.
- Embark on big trips: Many people review their wills to make sure everything is up to date. You’ll return home safe and sound, but many find this is a good time to get affairs in order. Make sure you discuss this with your attorney.
For assistance writing or updating your will, call the estate planning attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein today.