Believe it or not, my busiest time of year is around the holidays and New Year’s. I can only guess that it has to do with family getting together and realizing that they may need to take care of business matters for family members. So, I decided to start 2015 with a primer on wills. This is the first in my series on planning for the unexpected using a will.
“Do I really need a will?”
This is the most common questions clients ask but it’s really just a rhetorical question. You already have a will. But how is that possible you ask? You’ve never met with a lawyer or put anything in writing? It doesn’t matter because the state has generously provided one for you free of cost. So, the decision on whether to spend the time and expense in drafting a will comes down to two questions. The first question is:
Do you care who does or doesn’t get your stuff?
Whether it’s a Wii game system or a house, we all care about who gets our stuff. Perhaps you really want your best friend, NOT your brother, to get the Wii system. You must specify that in writing. The second question is:
Do you trust the State?
Before you answer keep in mind that while Minnesota’s divides your stuff between your immediate family members, this does not include your partner, stepchild, best friend or unadopted children. So, in the above example, the State will give your Wii system to your brother before your best friend.
I recognize that the above illustration is somewhat silly but the State’s decisions on property inheritance can be devastating to nontraditional families. My next post will further discuss what will happen to your property if you rely on the State’s will instead of drafting your own.
But you don’t need to read that far. If you want control over who will get your stuff, get a will now!