October 26, 2013 Fort Collins, CO
Many people do not have a will because they do not have a great deal of money or other assets. This can be a very big mistake.
First, if you have a child you need to plan for that child's future if you pass away. That planning should include determining who you want to have custody of your child after you are gone. You should also determine who you want to take care of your child's finances in your absence. You may not have much money now, but if your death is caused by the negligence of another your child may receive insurance proceeds from the negligent person's insurance company. Your child may receive money from insurance provided by your employer or from some other source. You may also have equity in your home and other assets. The person who has custody may be the same person that you choose to manage your child's money or they could be different people.
Second, if you are married with a child and do not have a will, your surviving spouse may inherit a big problem. That problem is that the laws of most states require that any assets that you leave must be shared between your spouse and your children. Therefore after your death, your spouse may be required to put part of the equity in your home along with part of the value of other assets you own just in your name in a separate account for the benefit of your child. This could leave your spouse in dire straights. It is usually best to have a will detailing your intentions and to review the ownership to your home and other major assets to make sure they are in joint tenancy if it is your desire for your spouse is to have complete ownership on your death.
Finally, you should consider powers of attorney and living wills that could be of great assistance if you became unable to communicate and/or found yourself in a severely disabled state.
Planning could be one of the most important things that you can do. So just because you do not have a great deal of money or other assets, that planning can be a great help to those who you leave behind.