Having a will is one of the most important decisions anyone who cares about their family would strive to accomplish in their lifetime. While will preparation is typically essential, the need for it has become especially more important now than ever considering the increasing threat to life triggered by the outbreak and continuous spread of the coronavirus.
If you are yet to prepare a will, then this might just be the best time to do so. This article identifies some risks of not having a will during the Covid-19 pandemic and the steps you can take to avoid a messy eventuality.
What Is A Will?
- A will is a legal document that organizes the distribution of your assets after death, and it also allows you to appoint guardians for minor children. It is extremely important to have a will as it allows you to communicate your wishes clearly and precisely. You can work with an attorney to update your will at different stages of your life.
The coronavirus pandemic has cast a lot of uncertainties in the air. Despite the efforts being put in place by the authorities and healthcare professionals, the number of cases have continued to increase exponentially. As at the time of writing this article, the United States has recorded over 5 million cases of coronavirus with 164,000 deaths.
- These frightening statistics reflect the precarious state of the present time and the need to do more in terms of abiding by the public health guidelines in order to contain the spread of the virus.
However, more evidence has emerged of how many people are being exposed to the virus in places of work, hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. In recent months, there has been a spike in the number of coronavirus-related injury lawsuits filed by individuals and families against care homes and businesses alleged to have disregarded basic infectious disease control measures, and increased their risk of exposure. Many people have lost their lives due to the negligent conduct of other people.
- Unfortunately, anyone can fall victim to this virus. That is why it is important to consider either updating your will (if you have one) or hiring an attorney to get one prepared for you.
What Happens If Someone Dies Without A Will?
- A situation where an individual dies without a will is known as dying intestate. After death, there are assets of the deceased that need to be distributed to their beneficiaries which can prove incredibly difficult to handle without any sort of will that guides how the property distribution should be done. In such situations, the state in which the person resides will have the power to decide how their assets are distributed. One major drawback of this settlement process is that it may not produce the results the deceased would have preferred for their survivors if they’d had the opportunity to turn back the hand of time.
What Are The Risks Of Dying Intestate?
It May Put Your Assets in Jeopardy
- Not having a will before death simply communicates that there’s no legally recognized executor appointed over your assets. As a result, another person will be appointed to act as an administrator. If a wrong person is appointed, all your assets may be put in jeopardy. The process of appointing another person along the line may bring about delays, additional expenses or loss of the property
It May Endanger the Livelihood of Young Children
- If you are like most parents, you want to give your kids nothing but the best in terms of their education, the home they live in as well as their financial security. While having great plans for your wards are important, it is much more important to put them down in a will in order to ensure that your intentions are not compromised.
The absence of a will for your children, especially if they’re under 18 can subject them to avoidable hardship. Therefore, it is important you make adequate provisions that are well spelled out in a will on matters such as a couple to assume the responsibility of care over them, and what each is entitled to.
It May Result In Dispute
- In most cases where wills are not prepared, family members find it difficult to reach harmonious grounds regarding the distribution of assets, inheritance, or possible debt that may be owed. This may lead to solving the disputes in courts. The costs of hiring a lawyer and paying court expenses could create additional financial burden on your children and spouse.
Who Should Prepare A Will?
- There’s a popular notion that only elderly people can prepare wills for their dependents. As strong as this might resonate with you, it is not entirely true. In reality, any individual over the age of 18 with property can benefit from speaking with an attorney to understand what their options are for estate planning. This ensures that you have your wishes clearly expressed such that your last will and testament is valid in the eyes of the law in the event of the common end.
Now is the right time to contact an attorney to help you document your wishes concerning how you want your property distributed after your death in a will.