Q: With all the estate tax law changes, do I still need a will?
A: Yes, everyone should have a will! While estate tax reform did pass last year, the laws only got more complicated. A will is the foundation of your estate plan and should be reviewed regularly to make sure it still reflects your current wishes.
The advantages of a will include:
- Gives you control over how your assets will be distributed. If you die without a will the state intestacy laws will dictate how your assets are to be distributed.
- If you don't want the state to decide who will raise your children .... a will allows you to nominate a guardian for your minor children.
- Without a will, many states will require the appointed administrator or executor to post a probate bond. This expense can be waived in a will.
- If you don't want a court appointed administrator, a will allows you to name who you want to be your executor, perhaps your spouse or a trust company.
- Allows you to make specific bequests of personal items or heirlooms.
- You can give an executor authorization to continue running a business without risk.
- Allows parents to set up children's (or grandchildren ) trusts.
- A will can create bypass or credit shelter trusts that could reduce or eliminate estate taxes.
- Gives you peace of mind that your financial matters are in order.
The information provided has been obtained from what Stanford Group considers reliable sources, but no guarantee is made with respect to accuracy nor completeness. You may wish to review these issues with your tax or legal advisor.