Do I need a Will?

May 21, 2010

The purpose of our blog is to answer your questions and provide you with general information regarding various legal issues that affect your life. For more specific information regarding your particular legal matter, we invite you to contact us.

Do I really need a Will?

 

The simple answer is yes, you do. If you own property in your name and die without a Will, state law will determine who gets your property. This may or may not be the way you wanted your property to pass. Without a Will, you not only lose control over who gets what, but you lose the right to appoint a particular person to oversee the distribution of your assets to the persons you would have wanted. This person is known as the personal representative or executor of your estate.

A study published in 2007 by Harris Interactive found that 55% of all adult Americans do not have a Will, and that the percentage for minorities is even greater. If you do not have a Will, you are not alone. Detroit native Sonny Bono, the pop icon of the 60’s and part of the famous Sonny & Cher duo (and then a U.S. Congressman), was killed in a freak skiing accident in Lake Tahoe at the age of 62. He did not have a Will. A man claiming to be Bono’s son came out of the woodwork and demanded that he be awarded a share of the estate. It became a nightmare for Bono’s widow. This problem would never have arisen if only Bono had executed a Will.

Although older Americans (over 55) are more likely to have some type of estate plan, the need for a Will is particularly important for parents who have children under 18. Through your Will, you can nominate a person to serve as your children’s guardian if something were to happen to you. You also can appoint a person you trust as a “conservator” to help manage the children’s property so that their financial needs are being met if you are no longer around.

Yes, you really do need a Will. Everyone does. If you do not have a Will, or if you need to have your Will reviewed and updated, please contact us at 248-586-0200.

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