Certain things you may assume follow automatically after a death might not happen at all. For example, a widowed spouse might not inherit property. A partner might not have any legal entitlements. A home might have to be sold. And children might not receive anything from an estate.
A will ensures that what you leave behind – your possessions, properties, savings and investments – are used and distributed the way you’d like them to be. It also lets you say who will handle your affairs, and who the potential guardians for your children will be.
Also known as an advanced medical directive, a living will isn’t an instruction concerned with your wealth or possessions. Instead, it’s about your health. It allows you to specify what kind of medical treatment you’d like to have – or to avoid – in later years. It’s a reassuring document to have ready for the future.
When a couple – either married or unmarried – have similar wishes (each planning to leave their estate to the other and to their children, for instance), mirror wills are a good solution. In the event of their partner’s death, it allows the widowed person to later change their own will.