Why Is Having a Will Important? 

fortpitt in Estate Planning 1 March, 2021

Written by: Bryson Roof | Financial Advisor

Why Is Having a Will Important?

Having a written Will and Last Testament helps ensure that all your wishes are carried out after your death. It names an Executor to administer your estate, who will receive your assets, and who will become guardians of your children and pets.

When there is no written will at your time of death, your local state government could determine your estate distribution.

Without the proper estate planning documents, distant family members may challenge your estate, potentially taking money away from your intended beneficiaries.

Wills Can (And Should) Change as Your Situation Changes

You don’t hold all of the cards when it comes to knowing exactly where you will be living, what you will have to pass down, or even loved ones that will be around when the will takes effect. Do not let these unknowns hold you back from putting your wishes in writing.

Instead of focusing on trying to make it perfect for your time of death (which you don’t know), make it fit your current financial scenario and life stage.

It is a fluid document that can and should change as your situation changes, such as a newborn or a new grandchild!

Advantages of Having a Will and Last Testament

Having a will helps assure that a portion of your Estate and savings will transfer to the heir and charities of your desires. Below are some of the most significant benefits of writing a will:

1. Put Your Loved Ones’ Minds at Ease

When you have a written Will and Last Testament, your loved ones won’t have to wonder about your wishes or who is responsible for specific tasks.  Naming an Executor, appoints specific duties to a friend or family member.

During a time of grief and sadness, providing written directives and guidance helps to eliminate stress and uncertainty, allowing your loved ones to focus on processing their grief.

2. Designate a Legal Guardian for Your Minor Children

If you have children under 18 years old, you should designate who you want to be a legal guardian in your Will and Last Testament. Holding a conversation with the potential legal guardian in advance helps ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities and won’t be shocked in the case of your death.

3. Distribute Your Assets and Name Your Beneficiaries

Distributing your assets after death is one of the main benefits of having a will. Carefully consider who should inherit your property, bank accounts, investments, and other assets. It is important to note, beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement accounts (such as a 401(k) or IRA) transfer outside of the Will and Last Testament.

Just because you update your Will and Last Testament does not mean that you do not need to update your beneficiary designations.  Beneficiary designations take precedence over your Will and Last Testament and are an important part of your overall Estate Plan.

4. Leave Instructions for Your Digital Profiles

In this digital age, many of your assets may be stored on your computer, phone, online profile or in an online cloud. You can name a digital estate executor in your Will and Last Testament for any of your accounts and include information on what action you would like to be taken.

For example, you may want to pass along your digital photographs or writings to a family member or have your social media accounts permanently closed.

Talk With an Advisor at Fort Pitt Capital Group

Our advisors typically recommend adding an estate planning lawyer into the conversation. A detailed estate plan will help assure that a larger portion of your hard-earned wealth will ultimately pass to the people and organizations that matter most to you and in the manner that you intend.

We assist our clients in increasing control over the distribution of their assets, minimizing taxes, and address other estate planning issues such as addressing how to handle incapacity and eldercare and nursing home concerns. Contact us today to learn more.

About the Author:

Bryson Roof
Financial Advisor
Fort Pitt Capital Group, LLC
507 N. Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 260-9281 | broof@fortpittcapital.com

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