The Importance of Having a Written Will

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What do a prince, a mob boss, and an artist all have in common?

While it is not a fun topic to bring up, a will is a very important thing to have. Even if you have what you think is a “simple” estate, you may be surprised to learn that some legal and financial planning is necessary to make sure your family receives what they should.

A written will saves your family time, money and headaches. Think of it as the last way you can show them the right way to do things and to take care of the people and causes important to you.

So back to the prince, mob boss and artist. Unfortunately, musical star Prince, actor James Gandolfini, and artist Pablo Picasso all died without wills. When people die “intestate” (without a will), their state’s succession laws apply. The heirs are picked by the legislature, not by you. Additionally, without proper planning, the estate of a person who dies without a will may incur additional legal expenses and higher taxes.

A will is a simple document to get executed and allows you to direct who inherits what from your estate. You decide where your property goes, who takes care of your children and pets, and whether a charitable cause which you believe in (like Ochsner) can receive meaningful support. You may not have won several Grammys, Emmys, or have been one of the greatest and most influential artists of your time, but you could still benefit from some estate and financial planning work, including a will.

Thoughtful preparation in advance will go a long way towards avoiding headaches, confusion and tax complications. Whether you are famous or not, take care of your family today by making sure you have a thoughtful plan in place for them.

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