A will is a legal document used to direct how to distribute a person’s assets upon death. When a person without a will dies, the state decides how to distribute that person’s assets.
Who needs a will and who can get by without one?
Married people need a will. This is particularly important if you married more than once or have children with a person who is not your current spouse. Most of the time, if a person dies without a will, the estate will go to the spouse, but that is not a guarantee and if you want any of your assets to go to someone other than your spouse, you need to specify that in your will.
Children usually are next in line after a spouse to inherit the estate of a person without a will, but again, that is not guaranteed. If you have any minor children, you should appoint a guardian in your will. If you want to divide your estate in a specific way among your children, you also need to specify this. Additionally, be sure to update your will if you have any additional children after you write the initial draft.
Single people with no children may not need a will, but it can still be beneficial. It can take the burden of dealing with your estate off of your surviving family members and allow you to choose which people or organizations you want to receive your assets. However, if you do not currently own any assets, you may not need a will yet.