Not everyone needs a will and many people do not have one. However, if you are married and have minor children, you should.
Married couples with little kids should have wills
Many young married couples with young children, think that they do not need a will because they don’t have any money to give away. However, most people have some assets. A car or two, some money in bank accounts. Maybe a home, or a 401k plan.
All these things can be disposed of without a will, but who will they go to?
Usually to a surviving spouse, but what if both parents die together? Then their things will go to their children. However, if the kids are minors (less than 18 years old), the money will have to go to the kids’ guardian and/or their conservator.
But who will be their guardian? Who will be their conservator? That’s where the will comes in.
Appointment of a Guardian
In a will, a parent can appoint a guardian for their minor children. That is the most important reason young people with little kids need a will. So that they can decide who will raise their kids.
Appointment of a Conservator
A parent can also appoint a conservator for their will. This is the person that will manage the property and money that a child inherits.
The conservator can be the same person as the guardian, but doesn’t have to be.
Perhaps you have a brother that your kids love, and whose wife is sweet, but they are just not that good with money. He might be a great guardian, but not that good of a conservator.
Maybe you have a sister who is great with money, but her and her spouse are workaholics. They would not have the time or the interest to take care of your kids. However, this sister may be just the person to manage your kids’ inheritance.
Other reasons to have a will
Some other reasons for a will are:
- to set out your intentions with respect to funerals, disposition of remains, etc.
- to name name your executor
- to give things to people other than your children
However, the most important reason is to name the person that you would like to see raise your children. That is why married people with little kids need a will.
By Steve Harton
Steve is an estate planning attorney in Rock Springs, Wyoming. If you live in Wyoming, and would like help with writing a will, please give him a call, at 307-382-5545.