If you’re like many people, you’ve wondered whether you need a will, and if so, when you should go about writing it. We’ve compiled some valuable tips that will help you decide how to move forward with this process.
Do I Need a Will?
Yes, you do. One of the main benefits of having a will is that it makes things easier on your loved ones once you pass away. After you die, your estate will need to go through a legal process known as “probate.” If you don’t have a will, the probate court will have to issue an order in accordance with the applicable intestacy laws, even if the result isn’t what you would have wanted. If you do have a will, however, all your loved ones will need to do is prove the validity of your will, execute your instructions, and pay any applicable taxes.
In addition to sparing your loved ones the time, expense, and stress of having to endure a long and complicated probate process, having a will in place also allows you to:
- Decide how your belongings will be distributed
- Designate a guardian for your children
- Determine who you want to execute your will
- Direct how certain personal matters will be addressed (e.g., whether you would like to be buried or cremated, whether you would prefer a funeral or memorial service, etc.)
When to Write a Will
Once you’ve decided to move forward with writing a will, the next question will be when to do so. In many states, including Florida, you generally have to be at least 18 years old to create a will. Most people don’t think about drafting a will at such a young age, but it’s actually quite a good idea. No matter how old you are, having a will eases the burden on your loved ones when you pass away, so the sooner the better.
With that being said, certain life events make it even more important to have a will in place. You should give serious thought to writing a will when you:
- Enter the military
- Adopt a pet
- Get married
- Have children
- Purchase property
When to Update a Will
Many people think that once they’ve created a will, their job is done. That’s actually not the case. While executing a will is a great first step, there are certain times in your life when you’ll need to consider updating the document. For example, you should give serious thought to updating your will when:
- You have another child
- You get divorced (it’s a smart idea to update your will before you actually file for divorce, since it can be difficult or even impossible to do so while in the middle of divorce proceedings)
- You receive an inheritance, a settlement, or another large sum of money (even if it’s currently being held in trust)
- One of your executors or beneficiaries dies or develops an addiction
- New legislation is passed that could affect your distributions
Even if none of these scenarios apply to you, you should still review your will every few years to confirm that it still reflects your current wishes.
Estate Planning Services in Pasco & Hernando Counties
If you’re interested in creating or updating a will, you can turn to the experienced estate planning attorneys at The Lyons Law Group, P.A. We’ve been serving clients across Pasco and Hernando Counties since our firm’s founding in 2008, and we would love the opportunity to assist you with your estate planning needs.
Contact The Lyons Law Group, P.A., today to request a free initial consultation. We have offices in New Port Richey and Spring Hill, and we would be happy to meet at whichever location is most convenient for you.