Why You Need a Will: Advice for Older Adults in Northern Michigan

Posted at Jun 24, 2014 | 111 Comments

Why You Need a Will

Planning for end-of-life is something most of us put off discussing or even thinking about. Creating an important document like a Last Will & Testament is one of the issues most adults avoid. In fact, the experts at Legal Zoom estimate that over 70% of adults do not have a will.

So why do you really need a will and what happens if you die without having created one?

The Facts on Will and Probate

First off, let’s talk about who should have a will and when you need to update the one you have:

  • Anyone with assets needs a will. It gives you the power to leave your money, investments, and property to the people you want to have them.
  • Parents of minor children need a will. In addition to protecting your assets, the document is also used to appoint a guardian for your kids and to outline your wishes for caring for them.
  • When you buy a home or other significant asset. For most of us, our house is our most valuable asset. Having a will lets you determine how it will be disbursed if something happens to you is important.
  • If you are taking a high risk trip or planning for surgery. If your job requires you to travel to high risk regions of the world or you are an adventurer who likes the thrill of risky sports like mountain climbing or race cars, you need a will. The same goes for anyone having a surgery. Even if the surgery is a minor one, there are always risks involved.
  • When family relationships change. The dynamics of a family often change. Divorce or death can create a need to make changes in the beneficiaries in your will.

What happens if you die without a will?

If you die without a will, your assets will be disbursed following what are known as “intestate succession laws.” They vary depending upon the state in which you reside. Who Gets What in Michigan gives you a quick overview of how the Great Lake state handles succession.

Finally, remember that some families have been irreparably damaged by battles over inheritance when there isn’t a will. Carefully planning and conveying your wishes can help your family avoid becoming one of those statistics.


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