Numerous studies have shown that the majority of adults in the United States do not have a will.  Some believe the lack of estate planning is caused by the idea that wills are only for the rich, but in reality several celebrities including Howard Hughes and Prince have passed away leaving multimillion-dollar fortunes and no will. One of the primary reasons that wills are often neglected is because some are not aware of what purpose a will actually serves, especially if you are person with few tangible assets. Understanding what a will actually does after you have passed away will help you understand why estate planning is so important.

Explains Burial Preferences

There are six common types of burials that are used throughout the United States with the most well-known being cremation, in-ground burial, and mausoleum above ground burial. The final choice of most people or families is usually influenced by religious preferences and financial considerations. Unless you have created a legal document that outlines your burial preferences, your final resting place will be determined by the family member who is ultimately granted legal control of your estate. A person who has strong feelings against cremation (which has grown in popularity) or who wants to be buried in a specific location can use a will to provide instructions on that front.

Discloses all Assets

Not every person in your life, including those closest to you, may be aware of your financial assets or where those assets are kept. A will gives you an opportunity to list all bank accounts, retirement accounts, real property, and stock options that you have along with the information needed to access or transfer the assets. If your beneficiaries do not know that a certain asset exists, it may sit unclaimed for years. Your will also give you an opportunity to explain how you want these assets distributed among beneficiaries or charities that are important to you. Without instructions, you have to hope that those closest to you find all of your assets and know how you would have liked the assets to be distributed.

Protects Minors or Pets

One of the most important things that a will does is protect your minor children, dependent adults in your care, or pets that you leave behind. In your will, you have the option of naming a guardian who can take care of your children or disabled adults who are in your care. You can also name a guardian for any pets that you want to ensure receive quality care even after you are no longer able to provide for them yourself.

Talk to an Estate Planner

The uses of having a will outlined above are only the basic benefits of having a will. A qualified estate lawyer can explain to you the other ways having an estate plan can help and protect your beneficiaries. The team at MMZ Law are here to show you the numerous ways an estate plan can protect your assets, legacy, and the loved ones you leave behind. Schedule an appointment at our conveniently located Claremont, California office today so that we can begin providing you with the information you need.



341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.