A will is a legally binding document that outlines the instructions you want to leave behind after you die. This includes how you want to distribute your property and assets and who you want to care for any minor children or pets you may have. It’s an incredibly important document, and all adults should have an up-to-date will for the following reasons:
- Provides peace of mind. It’s important to know that the loved ones you leave behind will be cared for, and that the personal treasures you’ve accumulated throughout your life will go the people you’ve chosen. As a legally binding document, your will ensures that your personal wishes will be carried out the way you want.
- Ensures clarity. Without a legal will, there is no way to communicate your wishes or to ensure that someone you trust will be taking care of your affairs. A will allows you to appoint an executor who will manage your estate after you’ve passed away.
- Allows you to choose who will care for minors. A will enables you to name a guardian who will care for any minor children so that you know they will be looked after by someone you trust and who has the same values that you do.
- Allows you to specify funeral instructions. Some people aren’t concerned about their final send-off, but others have specific preferences, such as burial versus cremation. A will allows you to clarify yours.
- Saves time and money. It’s easier, quicker and less expensive for your family when they don’t have to go through lawyers to determine where your possessions and assets should go.
- Allows you to make sure your pets are cared for. It’s something that is sometimes overlooked, but pet owners can include their furry friends in their will, including naming who should look after them and allotting money for their care.
- Ensures only those you choose will benefit from your estate. If you die without a will, it’s possible that someone who you would not choose to leave money to, like an ex-spouse or estranged relative, could inherit some or all of your estate. With a will, you can select beneficiaries for all of your assets and you can be very specific about dollar values or individual items.
- Enables you to leave money to charity. If there are charitable organizations that are important to you, a will allows you to support those organizations and leave a lasting legacy by naming them in your list of beneficiaries.
- Helps avoid chaos. A death is difficult on those left behind. Leaving a clear, concise will that explains exactly how you want things done helps to make a difficult time a little easier for those who are grieving your loss.
- Enables you to leave instructions for digital assets. Most of us have online accounts such as Facebook or email, as well as digital files (photos and videos) that belong to us. Having a will allows you to name a digital executor who can handle these assets in any way you specify.
Foresters members can access LawAssure, a convenient and easy-to-use member benefit that can help you get your affairs in order and protect your family’s future. With LawAssure, members can create a will and other important legal documents online. It’s convenient and tailored to the local jurisdiction of the member.
419839 CAN/US (05/21)