Why Do I Need a Will?

By Hancock Law Firm, PLLC | Posted on September 21, 2015

Have you created a will?

Dying without a will means the government gets to decide where your money goes. When someone dies without a will, the Mississippi laws of intestacy will determine how the estate is distributed. This means that your estate will automatically be divided evenly between your spouse and children, and if you do not have a spouse or children, it will go to siblings, parents, or grandchildren. With a will, you can provide a greater amount to a child who intends to pursue an expensive course of study in graduate school, not leave an inheritance to a spouse who has independent financial resources, or leave a gift to a charitable organization or school that is important to you. If you die without a will and without any living family, your estate will pass entirely to the government.

If you have children, a will becomes more important than ever. If you have children, creating a will offers you the chance to know that they will be cared for in the event of your death. With a will, you can name a legal guardian for your minor children to step in if you and your spouse were to die at the same time. When you die without a will and you have a spouse and children, your estate will automatically be divided in equal shares among your spouse and any children; for example, if you’re married with three children, each of your heirs would inherit 25% of your estate. Hiring an attorney to create a will gives you the chance to also discuss your options in regards to leaving money in a trust for your children, to better ensure their care over the long term.

Hiring a skilled attorney will help your heirs receive a greater inheritance. Going through the process of distributing an estate without a will can require a great deal of time and expense. The probate attorney will need to open the estate in court and also file documents for a determination of heirship, which defines who is an heir of the deceased person and thus has an interest in the estate. When an estate is distributed without a will, the court will need to establish an administrator (typically the spouse), which can be a demanding job for someone without legal or financial expertise. The family will also have to provide a bond, which will serve as a guarantee that the estate will not be improperly distributed. Hiring an attorney to create a will allows you to save your heirs from this process. It also offers you the opportunity to structure your estate in such a way that it will not be subjected to excessive taxation upon your death.

For assistance in creating a reliable Mississippi will, contact the Ridgeland-based estate planning attorneys at the Hancock Law Firm, PLLC for a consultation, at (601) 853-2223.

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