A will is a legal document that protects you, your family, and your property should something happen to you. While many people think wills are only used to express their wishes after death, the truth is, they can protect you while you are still alive as well.
A will can be drawn up anytime throughout your adult life, and should be revised every time a major life change occurs such as marriage, divorce, buying or selling a business, having children, purchasing major assets, and other significant life events.
Wills safeguard your wishes to make sure your decisions and plans are honoured. Without a legal document, others can decide what happens to your life, and everything in it once you are no longer able to speak for yourself. Having a current will and testament will:
1. Protect Your Health Wishes
Many people have what they call “living wills”. These documents or clauses in your current paper protect you should something happen that leaves you unable to make decisions about your future. Sudden or progressive medical conditions, accidents, or other trauma can leave you physically and mentally unable to speak for yourself and your lifestyle. Legally outlining what you would like done should something like that happen will ensure that all your wishes, including distribution of property, child or pet care, and end-of-life care are upheld.
2. Child and Pet Care
Do you know who will take care of your children or pets if something happens to you? You might have people in mind to care for your offspring and beloved animals, but if this is not clearly expressed in legal form, your kids could wind up living with someone that is not your choice, or worse; they could end up under the care of social services if a relative is not able to take them in.
Family pets could end up in a shelter like so many other animals. They could be rehomed with a stranger, separated if there is more than one pet, or worse, euthanized. Wills help protect your vulnerable young four-legged family members futures; keeping them safe with other family or friends that you trust most.
3. Personal Assets
What do you want done with your assets should something happen to you? You might know who you want to give your valuables to, what you want sold, and where or whom the money should go to, but without a legal contract, your wishes might not happen. If you want monies to go into a trust account for your child, or family heirlooms passed down, these details need to be clearly written in a court recognized form to ensure they are upheld.
4. Business Assets
As a business owner, a will protects your commercial property from being sold or distributed improperly. A legal paper will to provide your family or partners with fair and legal rights to your share of the professional stakes.
5. Charitable Donations
Many people like to leave some of their financial assets to their favourite charitable organizations. If you want to make any contributions to a non-profit organization, but do not have a current will expressing these wishes, relations might not honour your request.
6. Other Requests
Some people put very clear commands in their wills related to the burial requests, organ donation, and other elements of their life. Without clear instruction, these intentions might not happen. If you want something specific to happen after you die, it should be clearly written in a legal and binding form.
A will protects yourself, your loved ones, and your assets from other decision makers. They can be as simplistic or complex as your lifestyle. Most people see a personal injury lawyer to get a formal and legal document drafted.