Approximately 55% of American adults do not have a valid Legal Will. Unfortunately, if you die without a Will, your children’s financial future may be at risk. More importantly, without a Will you cannot be sure of your child’s guardian after your death.
What is a Legal Will?
A Will, sometimes called a Last Will and Testament, is a legal document which states the manner in which a person’s property will be distributed after death. More importantly for parents, a Will allows you to name a guardian for your children if you die before they are a legal adult.
A Will can also specify your preferences about funeral arrangements and organ donation. When creating a Will, many people choose to include documents such as a Living Will or health care directive which gives instructions regarding life support.
Why do you need a Will?
The most important reason you need a Will now is to designate a guardian for your children and name someone to take charge of your estate after your death. In many states, if you die without a Legal Will, your estate will be handled by a state appointed guardian.
This may be difficult for your family because the courts will decide how your possessions are divided.
If you and your spouse both die without a Will, the state will appoint a guardian for your children. A Legal Will would ensure your children and estate are cared for according to your wishes.
When should you create a Will?
You should start creating a Will as soon as possible. Life with a newborn can be hectic, so during your pregnancy is the perfect time to start researching and complete the process. You will feel peaceful after the birth of your baby knowing that you have prepared for the unexpected.
Your Next Steps:
- Find a lawyer on your area
- Contact the American Bar Association
Compiled using information from the following sources:
American Bar Association, http://www.abanet.org
Alabama State Bar, http://www.alabar.org
Federal Citizen Information Center, http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov