Marriage. For those recently married, a will avoids any fights — especially if any real separate property is brought to the marriage — between the new spouse and bloodline family, said Bishop of STA Wealth Management.
Second marriages, especially with children from a prior marriage, can result in complex family situations and can lead to probate contests and family infighting, he said. A will could prevent this and ensure that assets are smoothly distributed according to one’s wishes.
Having kids. Once you have kids, you need a will because it names a guardian for minor children, said attorney LaBrecque of LJPR Financial Advisors.
“Do it, and while you’re at it, consider ‘sprinkling’ the principal of inherited money to the kids at mature ages, [such as] 25, 30 and 35,” he said.
Growing older. As you get older and accumulate more, you should start thinking about a living trust, LaBrecque said. This is a separate legal entity that can be controlled in one’s lifetime but becomes irrevocable upon death. Even with a trust, however, a will is still necessary to ‘pour over’ into the trust any assets not already contained within.
“In old age, you probably have more stuff and you’re one day closer to the end of the show, so the will is still important,” he said.