Written by Mark Godbey, Esq., Godbey Law LLC.
You might think that a Last Will & Testament is not necessary unless you have a fairly large estate . However, a Will is very important for ensuring that your wishes are carried out after you pass away no matter how much money you make or what you own.
A Will says what will happen to your assets. If you don’t make a Will, the state will decide who gets what property from your estate, without considering your wishes. The laws about what happens when you die without a will (intestate succession) differ from state to state. A Will is critical to prevent your family and friends from fighting over your assets after you die. Even if you do not have a lot of money or property, if you have minor children, a Will is critical for establishing guardianship of those minor children. Without a Will, the probate court will decide which of your friends or relatives raises your child until they become an adult.
You can always amend (change) your Will as needed. In fact, it is recommended that you work with your estate planning attorney to occasionally review and if necessary, edit your Will (especially if your marital status changes or you have new children). You should always name a backup, who will take care of your children in case your original choice of guardian cannot or will not perform those duties. Keeping this information up to date ensures that if something happens to you, your estate will be handled how you wanted it to be.
Putting your Will together is good and important planning. You have worked hard to achieve the assets you own, and it is your right to say what you want to happen to them if you pass away. Putting a Will in place gives you peace of mind in knowing your wishes will be carried out.
Mark Godbey is founding attorney of Godbey Law LLC and has been practicing in the area of Estate Planning and Probate Law in Greater Cincinnati since 1989.
A Lawyer Explains... is a collaboration between the Hamilton County Law Library and the Cincinnati Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service. The information provided in this blog is not legal advice.