As a single mother, your primary concern is looking out for your children. That could mean investing in their future or making sure they have lasting love, guidance, and support if something happened to you. A will is a valuable tool in making sure that your children are protected when you are no longer able to protect them yourself. Let’s look at a few imperative reasons why you need a will today.
Without a Will, the Court Makes Guardianship Decisions
Do you want a say in who has guardianship of your children if you pass away? The only way to make sure our voices are heard after we are gone is through a will. If you haven’t chosen a guardian, the court may appoint someone who you do not trust or who doesn’t have the best interest of your children at heart.
Children Under 18 Cannot Take Ownership of Assets
If you have a family home that you want to pass down to your children or have money saved away for their future, you need to have it detailed in your will. With a will, you can dictate how the inheritance should be distributed and spent, both before and after your children come of age.
For example, you can dictate that your trustee (the individual who controls your assets and is legally bound to act in the best interest of your children) uses inheritance on medical treatment and educational expenses. Once your children are over 18, you can give them the full inheritance or let it stay in a trust to be used or given out conditionally (for college or upon graduation to pay off debt, for example).
You can also distribute a certain amount each month or year to prevent an 18-year-old from receiving a substantial windfall that they may not be ready to handle responsibly.
You Want Your Children to Keep Their Pets
If your children have lost you, the last thing they need is to lose their pets, too. Pets are a major source of support in difficult times, so ensuring that they come along to stay with your children and their new guardian is essential.
You Want to Make Sure the Bills Are Paid
Unfortunately, when we leave this earth, many of our bills remain. If you own a home and want your children or other family members to stay there, you’ll have to take action beforehand. Assigning a financial power of attorney allows you to leave behind assets or finances to maintain and pay for your home and bills. Without a trusted financial power of attorney, you risk family members or friends having to fight in court to obtain a conservatorship. This can be extremely costly and time-consuming.
Let Them Know You’re Always Thinking About Them
Your family’s well-being is the most important thing to you. You can avoid any additional stress on them by preventing the legal struggles that come with neglecting to have a will. You can even write a legacy letter to help your children cope.
This article was provided by Heban, Murphree & Lewandowski, LLC, a probate law firm with decades of experience based in Toledo, Ohio.