Whether you have a small or large family, your posthumous wishes are an important concern to those who are left in charge of your estate. A will helps to clarify, for all practical intents and purposes, what instructions you desire to be executed in the days and weeks after you have passed away. It is your final opportunity to make your thoughts known to your loved ones what your intentions are concerning how your estate should be dealt with, and this can go a long way towards minimizing family drama and discord. Here are four ways this works.
1. Naming the Right Executor
If you do not have a will, where you have named an executor of your estate, then the probate court will assign someone to settle your estate and final affairs. This individual may handle your estate in ways that you never intended, and your family may not get items and property you desired them to have. For this reason, it is important to name one or more people suitable to be the executor of your will who you trust to carry out your instructions to the letter.
2. Dividing Assets
A will outlines in detail which money, assets, and property from your estate go to the people you assign to receive these items. This way, everyone is crystal clear that they are receiving items because you decided they should have them, not someone else. This can be a far more peaceful solution than to have family members fighting over your estate with no clear idea of how you wanted items to be divided up among your surviving family and friends.
3. Nonfamily-Based Considerations
You may have a number of possessions that you do not intend to pass on to direct family members. Certain items you can earmark in your will to go to close friends or acquaintances. Other items may be intended to go to charity. By making your intentions for these items clear in your will, you introduce a legal and authoritative statement on how these items should be distributed even in the case of nonfamily interests.
4. Honoring Your Burial Wishes
Are you interested in a plain, natural burial? Maybe you want to be cremated or have allotted certain funds for your burial needs once your time in the funeral home has reached an end. Your will can play a critical role in helping your family know your final wishes in this important decision. The last thing you want is to leave your family with uncertainty in such matters and to let that add more stress to an already stressful situation. Some may want you buried next to family while others close to them or in your home state. You should make the decision now so they don’t have to guess how to best pay respects and fall apart in the grieving process.
Time Heals All Wounds
In the course of time, your family will have finished grieving over your departure. Having received guidance through your will, they will understand your final instructions, carry them out, and begin the process of healing from the sadness associated with coming to terms with your passing. While it may be a difficult task to endure, leaving your family with a will helped make this process run smoother and will also help them to get on living their lives as you likely hope they do.
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