Are you among the estimated two-thirds of American adults who do not have a will? If so, it may be in your best interest to create one. It is a common misconception that only wealthy individuals need a will. All adults need a will, regardless of the value of their estates. 

Wills serve many important purposes. Read below to find more information about these important legal documents. 

What are the functions of a will? 

The main purpose of a will is to provide instructions on how you want your property and assets distributed. Generally, you may dispose of or distribute the property in any manner you choose. 

In your will, you name the person who you want to serve as executor of your estate. This person takes care of taxes and debts and distributes your assets to your beneficiaries. 

You also designate a guardian for minor children in your will. If you do not name a guardian, a judge may decide who will raise your children after your death. 

A will can speak on your behalf regarding your burial preferences and other requests you may have. Having a will ensure family members and loved ones understand your wishes and can abide by your final requests. 

What happens if you die without a will?  

If you die without a will, Minnesota’s intestate laws will determine who legally owns your property. For example, your residence automatically passes to your spouse if you do not have children. If you do have children, then after your spouse dies, the children inherit the house. 

If there are children who depend on you for support, then they have a right to an allowance of the estate that covers up to 18 months of support. The executor determines the amount your dependents receive each month and gives this money to the legal guardian or person who has care and custody of the children.