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attorney Todd M. Villarrubia

Todd Villarrubia

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Is It Important to have a Will?

Posted On: June 19, 2024

By: Todd Villarrubia

Todd M. Villarrubia, an authority in wealth planning and preservation, brings over 30 years of in-depth, experience to the complex challenges of safeguarding familial and individual wealth. Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, his expertise is not only recognized in the local community but also reverberates within the legal industry.
Last Will and Testament
While discussing end-of-life wishes can be difficult, working with your attorney to draft a will should be a top priority. However, far too many of us avoid this task.

The biggest mistake people make in estate planning is not having a will. Many think that if they don’t have a will, their children or spouses will automatically inherit everything, and their families will know what to do. This simply isn’t true.

A recent article, “5 reasons why having a will is important for you and your loved ones” from Microsoft Start, says depending upon where you live, if you die without a will, your estate will be distributed according to the laws of your state. It won’t matter what you might have wanted to happen or what your spouse or family thinks should happen. And there won’t be any recourse for your spouse or your children.

Part of your assets to be included in your will are known as “digital assets.” The digital content now being included routinely in estate plans includes blog posts, social media, and email accounts, followed by passwords. Other digital assets include cryptocurrencies, NFTs (nonfungible tokens) and online businesses.

The laws of every state are different, and there are jurisdictions within every state. The laws of intestacy are different in each one. Your entire estate might not go to your spouse but be divided between your spouse and your children. If you’ve remarried and your state’s laws give everything to the spouse, your biological children might be disinherited.

If you have relationships outside of marriage or kinship (also known as “bloodlines”), your state’s laws probably don’t recognize those relationships, no matter how lasting they may be. A close friend, family caregiver, or live-in partner may find themselves left out of your inheritance, even if you’ve told them you’ll take care of them.

There are many instances of live-in partners being evicted from homes when family members inherit real estate property and the partners are not co-owners. This is a dramatic example, but it is all too common.

Parents need a will to designate a legal guardian for minor children. The will is used to name who you want to raise your children and look after them financially. Part of your estate planning should include financial planning in the event of something happening where your children will need to be raised by others. You can set up a trust with trustees in charge of funds for the children’s upbringing.

If the family includes a special needs individual, the estate plan should include a Special Needs Trust to protect their loved one. An SNT allows monies to be set aside for their benefit without placing their government benefits at risk.

An estate planning attorney can help you clarify your wishes and document them in your will. They’ll also help prepare documents like Power of Attorney, Living Will, Healthcare Directives, and others needed to protect you while you are living.

Reference: Microsoft Start (May 2024) “5 reasons why having a will is important for you and your loved ones”

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