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Do you need to have a will?

As you begin the estate planning process, one thing you might be asking yourself is if it's necessary to have a will. A will is a legal document that you may want to have, because it tells your loved ones and the courts exactly how you'd like your assets distributed after your death.

Most people choose to have a will as the first document in their estate plan. A will isn't enough on its own, but it does create a wonderful starting point.

When you pass away with a will, your assets and property can be distributed in whatever way you want. If you don't have a will, then state law will determine how your assets are passed on.

When should you have a will?

Anyone can and should have a will. However, there are some people who need wills more. For example, people with a spouse should have a will, so that they can be guaranteed to receive assets following their spouse's death.

If you have children, it's also a good idea to have a will. Your children are likely to be able to inherit assets you once owned intestate if you don't have a will, but there is no guarantee. A will allows you to determine how your assets are distributed.

Finally, if you have assets that exceed $100,000, make sure you have a will in place. It will just be easier for your family and others if a will is in place, so you may want to discuss creating one with your attorney during your next session.

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