Over 18 years of age?
If you die without a will in the U.S., the local Probate Court must administer your estate without any direction or input from you.
Without a will to guide it, the Court will follow the State law on decisions regarding how to distribute your assets and who to
appoint as guardian for your children. A will can be a simple document, but one that gives you control over what happens to
You should have a will
your assets and loved ones when you are gone. For example:
• Property (homes, land, jewelry, personal property) and other assets are distributed by a fixed formula determined by state
law in all instances of death without a will. By creating a will you can ensure that your property goes where you wish, and
sometimes more importantly, ensure that it does not go to certain individuals.
• If you have children, there should be no question about creating a will. You do not want the State or the Court deciding
who should become the guardian of your child should you and your spouse die. A will allows you to specifically name a
guardian for your children (the person who raises the child and is responsible for him/her), a decision that should never
be made by anyone other than a parent.
• A will can help you distribute your property in such a way that you reduce the tax burden on your estate. This means that
the government takes less of your estate, and therefore more is left for your heirs.
• If you own your own business, having a will can be instrumental in keeping that business alive when you die. Without the
direction of a will to sell the business off, appoint a Manager, or be passed on to family members, a business may go
months without direction until such time as the Court addresses your estate. Such periods of inactivity can cripple a business
leaving nothing of value to run, or sell, for your heirs.
• A will is revocable, which means it can be changed. You can change your will as many times as you like, as it is not filed
(or probated) until death.
• A will allows you to make particular funeral arrangements, appropriate for your religious beliefs and your personal wishes.
A will is an important document to have, even if you do not have many assets. It gives you control over how your assets are distributed
and who becomes a guardian for your children; decisions that only you should be making. With the help of an experienced
lawyer, drafting a will can be a simple process, but one that is invaluable. If you do not have a valid, current will, make
it a priority to have one done, for your own peace of mind and the interests of your family.
This article is designed to introduce you to the importance of asset planning and the need to protect your wealth. It is published as part of general information series for visitors to our web site. If you need to pursue an asset protection strategy, make sure you do it with the assistance of a professional.
This informational article is published by Greenberg & Co., Two Corporate Drive - Suite 234, Shelton, CT 06484 USA. We can be contacted via telephone by calling (203) 225-0200. Our website address is: www.greenbergandco.com, and we can also be reached by email at
. Any request for permission to distribute, reprint, or publish this copyrighted material must be submitted to the above address in writing.