Most Americans would rather get a root canal or do their taxes than prepare a will. And while we understand that laying out your final wishes can be difficult, it’s probably not as miserable as you might imagine. More importantly, having a will can save your loved ones considerable time, money, and distress.

If you already have a will, you know that the process is not overly complicated or painful. However, a will isn’t something you set up and never look at again, it needs to be reviewed. We recommend reviewing your will annually to see if anything had changed. Your assets, preferences, and relationships change quickly and your will needs to reflect that information.

A will is a legal document laying out your wishes about the distribution of your assets in the event of your death. Without a will, the local courts will distribute your assets according to state regulations and their discretion. Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad to you; why do I need a will?

A significant reason to create a will is to save money. Yes, a will may cost you a little bit up front, but in the long run, it can save your estate thousands of dollars. A qualified attorney will help you write your will in such a way to minimize the amount of taxes taken out of your estate.

Establishing a plan for your assets also allows you to determine who gets what. You may want to set aside specific assets for specific people, ensure your children are well cared for, or even omit a family member you don’t get along with.

Lastly, as unfathomable as it may be, your estate could cause division within your family. If you pass away without a will, your family members will have a chance to argue to the court how much they should receive. This process is not only difficult during a time of mourning, it can also cause hurt feelings and broken relationships.

To update, review, or create a will, we recommend sitting down with an experienced attorney who can help you. Contact us today to start the New Year off well.