Daniel D. Ware
Purpose of a Will
People ask why I really need a will. The real answer is twofold. First, you can clearly state your intentions as to your worldly possessions and debts when you are gone. Second, if you have minor children, you can state whom you desire to have them placed if the other parent is also deceased or unavailable.
First, the purpose of the will is to state your intentions for your desired division of your assets and for payment of your liabilities. If you don't have a will, your possessions go through the division as established by your state law. Remember your creditors will always have a say in your possessions, if you owe any. After creditors, your heirs will get these items. Many people desire to have certain persons whether spouses, children, friends, or maybe organizations to have their assets. With a will you can say what items does to what person. Many people do not desire certain children to get certain items. You may want other persons having assets that would go to other people.
Remember there are certain assets that would not distributed through the will. For instance, insurance policies pay the stated beneficiaries. If there are conflicts between a will and a policy, the policy will control. It is a contract between the policy holder and beneficiary. As to other property, ownership of these items may be with other people. In that case, the assets will go to the joint owner. Most people have their spouse or maybe children listed as the owner of a house or vehicle. Joint ownership needs to be taken into account when writing a will. Joint ownership are in IRA, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and other areas of life.
As to having minor children, a will allows you state the guardian and/or trustee over the children. In most situations, the other parent, whether married or not, will always have the children. If there the other parent is not available for whatever reason, then you can say who protects and rears the child. Without a will, a court will have that decision. Parents should always consider who they desire their children will be placed if they both have departed from this life.
I always encourage people to get a will. It just makes senses. It gives you the power to determine how your assets, liabilities, minor children and other potential matters are to be taken care of when you are no longer here. With a will, you state your choice. Without a will, someone, court or state law gets to make that choice.