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Seven Critical Reasons to Make a Last Will & Testament

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Individuals work a lifetime at accumulating assets, personal property and mementos. It only takes a little time to make sure those valued items pass on to your loved ones. If executed correctly, a Last Will and Testament can clearly state your wishes and ensure they are carried out. Other reasons to take the time to prepare a will:
1.    You care about your family and loved ones – they shouldn’t have to figure everything out on their own after your death.  Your planning considers them important enough to take time to state what your wishes are with respect to your property and assets.
2.    People may not die in the order you plan so if a joint account owner passes away before you do, you have a contingency plan in place.  Your family and loved ones will know what your wishes are if the co-owners on your accounts die before you do.
3.    You want bequeath or provide a gift to a charitable, religious, social or community organization that has played a significant role in your life or the life of a loved one. 
4.    You do not want the State to determine how your assets and property are divided and distributed.  The State will divide your property between your spouse and children or other relatives according to certain inflexible and impersonal state laws.  You would rather make that decision yourself.
5.    You do not want your family to fight over important personal items.  It is easier to make a decision and communicate your wishes to your loved ones.
6.    You do not want a court to determine your executor and take care of your affairs.  Appointing an executor in your willl makes the situation so much easier on your family and loved ones.
7.    You do not want your estate to pay estate taxes.  Through proper 
           planning, federal and state estate taxes can be minimized or avoided 
           altogether.
    Your  will can be changed by you for any reason. The changes can be due to personal circumstances, death of children, family members or named executors, changes in your financial situation, tax laws and charitable preferences.
Of course, a Last Will and Testament may not be appropriate in your situation. A Revocable Living Trust, for example, may be necessary for tax planning purposes. Whatever your situation, seeking the advice of an elder law attorney who can assist you in pre-planning will ensure your wishes will be followed upon your death.