According to a 2021 Caring.com survey, only one-third (33%) of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents such as a will or living trust. 
With many unknown factors in life, especially with the shocking outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, estate planning is important because you can never know what the future may bring.

Here’s a few (but not all) reasons why it’s essential to have a Will & Testament:

1. Decide who gets your assets/ property – and who does not.
You worked hard to earn a decent living and obtain the assets you have acquired throughout your life, right? Then you should get to decide who gets your assets and property – and who does not. You are able to name people as beneficiaries for specific assets. For example, if you promised a family member will inherit a specific family heirloom then you can ensure that person receives it.

2. Choose who will take care of your minor children.
If you are a parent, you are able to choose who will take care of your minor children in the event that you pass away. Generally, the surviving parent gets sole custody if one parent dies. However, it Is important to have a Will & Testament in the unfortunate event that both parents pass. The guardian you choose will be responsible for the well-being of your child(ren), including housing, health care, food, clothing, and education. If you do not nominate a guardian in your Will & Testament, then the court will decide for you and this potentially means someone you would not have chosen will be raising your kids.

3. Make the probate process easier on your loved ones by reducing stress, saving time & money
Probate is the legal process of overseeing the distribution of assets from an estate. Majority of estates have to go to probate court to start this legal process. This process is much easier when there is a valid Will & Testament since you have already chosen the person you want to handle the distribution of the estate and decided who gets your assets and property. If there is no Will, then the court has to name a personal representative to administer the estate which can be time-consuming, expensive, and potentially cause family disputes.

4. Provide instructions for your funeral.
While it may be uncomfortable to think about your own funeral, it is best to leave instructions in your Will & Testament. By doing this it eliminates the guesswork for your family. You can include details whether you would like to be cremated or buried, location for the service, and more. Life can be difficult after a family member has passed… wouldn’t you want to make things easier for your loved ones?

5. Gain peace of mind.
People tend to put off creating his or her estate planning because many assume that their loved ones will automatically inherit the assets and property. This assumption is simply not true in most cases. When you create a Will, you are essentially leaving your loved ones a roadmap of how you want things to be handled after your passing. Your family will not have to guess what your final wishes were and allows your loved ones to focus more on supporting each other during the grieving period.

Creating a Will & Testament is easy. If you are interested in estate planning, you should always hire a trusted attorney to draft these documents (as we will cover in another article What Makes a Will Valid and Common Mistakes People Make When Creating a Will). Contact Georgia Legal Counsel to get the process started TODAY so that you can gain a peace of mind for you and your family members!

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