Minnesota Family Law Lawyers & Attorneys
Writing your will is generally considered a morbid endeavor, but an important one for any adult who has begun to accumulate any personal wealth. Even owning a car or building a reasonably sized savings account can make it important to have at least a basic will in place. This is to ensure that your possessions, whether great or few, will go to the people you care about most. Not whoever the state thinks will be the most appropriate inheritors.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will
Many young people and those even in middle-age don’t have any will at all. While this makes sense in your early 20s when the only wealth you possess is a used car and a few boxes of keepsakes. But writing a will should go hand in hand with building your career. Once you have a retirement fund building, a savings account, and expensive assets like a house or an actually valuable car, it will matter who these assets fall to should you happen to be struck by a meteor on the way home from work or some other unexpected tragedy.
If you die without a will, you have died “intestate” and your state of residence will be in charge of deciding who inherits what. If you have a spouse, inheritance will be split between your spouse, parents, and siblings. If you have children (or grandchildren) they also get a significant portion of an intestate estate. However, because family connections are complicated, you may not agree with the default distribution and your family might not either, given that no personal preferences will be considered by the state.
Writing Your First Will
Your very first will doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you don’t have much to bequeath. Many people start with a boilerplate will that only names your executor and primary heir. Most simply leave everything to their spouse, especially before you have children. However, you also have the freedom to customize as much as you see fit. If you are the owner of your grandmother’s wedding rings, heirloom furniture, or other family keepsakes, you may want to make sure these wind up in specific hands if your guardianship ends unexpectedly.
Young people are also more likely to leave certain items to friends when they write custom wills. You might have a friend who loves cars and would take good care of yours if you left it to them. Or a friend who you promised to give a specific poster or piece of jewelry to. Your will is the perfect place to make sure these promises are kept even if control of your estate passes mortally out of your hands.
Updating Your Will When Circumstances Change
Of course, no matter when you establish your very first will, your life will inevitably change from that point. Major life changes happen to everyone, including the top names on your list of nearest and dearest. Perhaps you get married or divorce the spouse you had when your first will was written. Perhaps an older relative you left something to passes away before you do, or you lose track of friends who were once close enough to be considered an inheritor.
Many people will need to re-write their wills after they have children, adjusting distribution of wealth to include the children and not just their spouse.
Then there’s the fact that you will continue to accumulate wealth and assets over a lifetime. When you wrote your first will, you may not have yet owned a house, built a valuable collection, or accumulated significant savings that are worth splitting between several people.
Facing Family Law Issues? Contact Our Office Today!
Never underestimate the need to re-write your will. This is something that should be considered seriously at least once a year. Ask yourself what has changed in your life and if your will is still appropriate for your life circumstances, closest loved ones, and complete set of personal assets in your estate. If anything significant has changed, a family lawyer can help you sort out a new will no matter how complex your wishes become over the years. For more information or a consultation on how to rewrite your will for new circumstances, contact us today!