A Testament and a Last Will, known also as a “Will,” is a legal document that gives instructions on the ways the deceased would want their final wishes to be carried out, such as the care of children and distribution of assets and property.

If an individual passes on without a legitimate Will, the court will step in and try to make decisions for the deceased. This means that, if you pass on without leaving behind a valid Will, the court could and can decide the Guardianship of your children without ever knowing your wishes. Also, the court appoints a Personal Representatives of the Will to manage and distribute your assets. Importantly, crucial decisions concerning the future of your household may be in the wrong hands.

Without leaving back a legitimate Will, people give up control of some protections of the future of their household. In addition, by not leaving a Will, property distribution may be delayed, causing potential difficulty for survivors. With funeral expense and medical costs, it is helpful to not add unnecessary anxiety and stress to an already difficult situation.

If you are a married couple, don’t always assume that your partner will inherit everything. Some family members like siblings, children and parents, could have claims on your assets, depending on when and how it was received. More complications might arise if  both partners are living together as a couple, but not married legally, which is likely to result in the court treating your spouse as a single individual, thus eliminating your significant other from receiving spousal consideration.

If you have created a Will some years back and have also gone through a variety of changes, such as divorce, marriage or the birth of a child, make sure you update the will with your current wishes.

Whatever the condition, having a Will is an important component of your estate plan.  Writing a legitimate Will may also offer confidence and peace of mind, as one less thing that others have to be concerned with.