Dentists: Here’s Why Having a Will Is so Important

Despite knowing the importance of creating one, over half of all Americans do not have a valid Last Will and Testament in place. Often, the reason given for not executing at least a basic Will is the belief that one is not necessary. Consider the following five reasons why executing a Will is important, especially if you’re a dentist.

1. A Will allows you to control who inherits from your estate. When a decedent dies intestate, or without a valid Will in place, the state intestate succession laws govern what happens to the decedent’s estate assets. Intestate succession laws vary somewhat from one state to the next; however, they all share a common theme in that only a spouse and/or close relatives inherit from a decedent’s estate. Typically, a spouse and children inherit first, followed by parents and siblings. Close friends, distant relatives such as a favorite niece, and charities that are close to your heart will receive nothing from your estate.

2. A Will allows you to decide how much people inherit from your estate. State intestate succession laws also dictate what percentage of your estate each heir inherits. Assets intended for children from a previous marriage, for example, might be given to a current spouse. The only way to control how much of your estate is given to each beneficiary is to create a Will.

3. A Will allows you to determine what assets people inherit from your estate. Specific gifts can only be made in a Will. Intestate succession laws will not acknowledge, much less honor, promises made by you to gift specific items, such as family heirlooms or sentimental personal items, to anyone.

4. A Will prevents the sale of estate assets. Often, estate assets must be sold to create the funds necessary to divide the estate according to state intestate succession laws. Your home, family heirlooms, and other assets may be forever lost unless you execute a Will.

5. A Will is your only opportunity to nominate a guardian for minor children. If you have minor children the only opportunity you have to tell a judge who you would choose to be their guardian should one be needed is in your Last Will and Testament.

For more information about drafting a Will, please contact us!