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Why do I need a WILL?

If you die without a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to state law. That won't necessarily conform to your wishes.

Many people assume their possessions will automatically go to their spouse. That's not always true.

In many states, possessions are divided equally between the spouse and the children, and limits are placed on how a child's share can be spent. So, even if your spouse has custody of your children, the state could dictate how your spouse manages your children's inheritance.

Is there a charity or a person not related to you that should receive some of your possessions?

In many states, the law does not make provisions for people who are not related to you by blood or marriage. If you wish to leave money or possessions to a step-child or a companion to whom you are not married, for example, a will is your assurance that those people will be taken care of.

Children are another consideration. Without a valid will stating who should care for your children, a court may be left to make that decision in your absence. That's something you don't want to leave to chance.

The emotional loss of a loved one is hard enough for the surviving family to deal with. A will can help ease that pain by taking care of the details that will matter once you're gone.