A will is important to have, as it allows you to communicate your wishes clearly and precisely. It is a legal document that coordinates the distribution of your assets after death and can appoint guardians for minor children.
Without a will, the state decides how to distribute your assets. The resulting settlement process may not produce the results that you would prefer for your survivors. You can prevent this from happening by having documents drafted that reflect your wishes.
Generally speaking, an asset that allows the owner to name a beneficiary will not have to go through a lengthy legal process called probate court. Having a will in place before death can alleviate months, even years of court proceedings and save money for the beneficiaries.
“There is nothing like the death of a moneyed member of the family to show persons as they really are, virtuous or conniving, generous or grasping. Many a family has been torn apart by a botched-up will. Each case is a drama in human relationships — and the lawyer, as counselor, draftsman, or advocate, is an important figure in the dramatis personae. This is one reason the estates practitioner enjoys his work, and why we enjoy ours.”
– Jesse Dukeminier and Stanley M. Johanson, introduction to 1972 edition of Family Wealth Transactions: Wills, Trusts, Future Interests, and Estate Planning.