Do I need a Will?
None of us live forever. A Last Will and Testament, (“Will”) lets you plan for the future – after you are gone. It gives us a sense of control regarding what happens upon our own death.
For example, if you have minor children, you can designate in your Will, who will take care of them and manage their assets for them. If you fail to put a Will into place, the Court has the power to grant the appointment of a guardian and conservator and do so without your input. You may also increase stress on your family members by forcing them to shoulder this burden.
In Kansas, if you and your spouse have children and one of you dies without having a Will in place, the law divides your assets in two, ½ to your spouse, ½ to your children, who wouldn’t inherit until the age of eighteen (18). Generally, most people want their assets to go to their surviving spouse and have their children inherit only when both parents die. In order to avoid something you do not want happening, a Will is necessary. Another great thing about a Will is that you can specify when your children would be entitled to full ownership of their inheritance. Additionally, if two parents die close in time to one another without a Will, both estates may need to be probated. However, parents are able to eliminate that issue by specifying in their Will that a second probate is not necessary.
Finally, Kansas law allows you to leave a list of specific property you want to give to specific people. This list is referenced in your Will and it can be amended without amending your Will.
Of course, the Will itself must comply with Kansas law and an attorney who regularly drafts Wills is a great resource to put one together for you.