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.