What are some reasons I should have a will?

  • If you die intestate, or without leaving a will, the law may have to decide who will inherit your property and how much each person will inherit. For example, in Virginia under the laws of intestate succession, one-third of one’s property goes to a surviving spouse and two-thirds goes to surviving children.
  • Even if you are married and own everything in joint tenancy with your spouse, you may want to have a will in case you and your wife die together. A will allows you to control how and to whom your assets will pass to others upon your death.
  • Even if you have no property and have designated all your beneficiaries on your life insurance and tax deferred accounts, you may need a will because your beneficiaries may not outlive you.
  • You are a sole parent of a minor child or children. If you are a widow or widower you may wish to designate who will take care of your minor child and the property left for the child’s benefit. If you are divorced from the other parent of the child, you may not what him/her to hold your property for the benefit of your minor child.
  • You own real estate in a state outside the state in which you reside or claim as your domicile.
  • You have a family member whom you wish to disinherit or need to disinherit to preserve medical benefits.