Let’s face this fact; almost no one likes thinking about creating a will. Wills make people think of their own demise, and even if they probably have decades to go, just the thought of not being around forever is frightening.

Cuban Man #365 pic of the day #dailyshoot
Creative Commons License Les Haines via Compfight

Still, it’s important to have a will for so many reasons. Below are 5 reasons you need a will.

1. You need to make sure your estate goes to who you want it to go to. This might seem like a slam dunk but not every state has rules that automatically give the estate to the spouse or siblings or other family members. All it takes is for an outside source to put a claim on the estate in some fashion and things get gummed up for years.

2. Wills make the estate process go much faster. Even if you live in a state where the estate will go to the family, without a full expression by the person who’s deceased as to the disposition of the estate, it could take awhile before the family gets what it’s supposed to get.

3. Wills allow you to designate certain things for specific people. Did you promise your niece that brass table when you passed away? Maybe there’s that autographed Willie Mays baseball you wanted to go to your best friend because he’s a collector who you know would love to own it. Or maybe you want each family member to get a certain percentage of your estate, maybe even giving them nothing. This type of thing happens often, but if it’s not on paper then no one has to abide by any agreement that might have been made.

4. A will lets you set conditions you want followed before certain parties can get a part of your estate. Many rich people will include donations to a charity or university or a nonprofit where they request that something be named after them, such as a scholarship or a wing of a building. There are many different types of conditions that someone might hold a beneficiary to so they can get something from the estate. True, in some states if those conditions are out of line, such as trying to force a marriage to someone else, they’ll be thrown out, but most of the time those conditions give you the power for some extra determination of your estate.

5. If all else fails and there’s no one left for your estate to go to, the government gets it. Goodness, who wants that to happen? Having a will allows you to make sure someone you feel is deserving will get your estate, even if it also means you have to make sure to update your will when certain events occur if you’re leaving it to family members.

6. Yes, we said 5 reasons, but this sixth reason is a big one. If you have young children that are left behind after you’re gone and they don’t have another parent to take care of them, you’re going to want to have the opportunity to designate who you’d like to take care of them. This is important unless you want them to become wards of the state. It’s always better to have someone in mind that you would trust in raising your children.

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