What is a Will and why do I need one?

What is a Will and why do I need one?

What is a Will and why do I need one?

It is often difficult for people to think about death, and understandably so, but in order to ensure that your loved ones are cared for after you pass away, it is important to consider drafting a will.  A will is a written document, that designates guardians for minor children, names a personal representative to handle the distribution of the estate, and provides instructions for the distribution of money, assets and property. If you die without a will, those wishes may not be followed.

Many people wonder if they really need a will. They may think that they don’t have enough assets to bother with a will. However, a will is a good idea for just about everyone.

What Happens If I Don’t Have a Will in Washington?  If you die intestate—that is, without a will—the state oversees the dispensation of your assets, which it will typically distribute according to a set formula. (RCW 11.04.015)

Because of the elective-share and community property provisions mentioned above, the formula often results in half of your estate going to your spouse and the other half going to your children. Such a scenario sometimes results in the sale of the family home or other assets, which can negatively affecting a surviving spouse who may have been counting on the bulk of your assets to maintain his or her standard of living.

Further complications may ensue if your children are minors.  With a will you can name the person whom you feel most comfortable serving as your child’s guardian.  Without a will, the court will appoint a guardian for you. 

Therefore, if you die without a will in Washington, it is highly likely that the court will appoint a guardian for your children who you may not agree with and that your estate will be distributed in a manner you would not have approved of. 

STAY UP TO DATE

Subscribe to our newsletters

 
Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.
ebl home subscribe image

FURTHER READING

Latest Blog Posts

A Seattle family law attorney can help if you find you are in a situation where your ex is abusing your pet.

If you are an unmarried couple, a Seattle family law attorney can help you protect your partner through the use of wills and trusts.

A Seattle family law attorney can guide you with next steps should you discover that your spouse has been unfaithful.

An estate planning attorney can help you draft a will or designate some of your property as non-probate assets by creating various trusts.

Not sweating the small stuff is even more important during separation than it is at other times to have an amicable divorce.

Many people delay estate planning because facing sickness and death can be uncomfortable. However, preparation is necessary to have your wishes honored as you intend. With this in mind, consider the following suggestions to stay focused on these estate planning goals.

The thought of how to approach your partner for a divorce can be stressful, even if you believe they will take the news "well.” The upside is there are ways to communicate your intentions that can minimize the uncomfortable feelings you are experiencing while helping to make the conversation go more smoothly.

Probate in Washington state is relatively straightforward, especially with the guidance of a Seattle estate planning attorney at your side. Here is what you need to know.

Unsure where to begin gathering the foundation you need to go through the divorce process with confidence and well-prepared? Consider the following 10 tips to prepare for divorce.

Everyone who has anyone in their life needs an estate plan, even people who own little or no property.