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Wills are important even for young families

A common misperception about wills is that wills are documents that only elderly people sign to pass property to their heirs. While wills are often used for those purposes, wills are also important for young parents as well.

Last April, a Georgia woman lost her fiancé and 7-year-old son in a car accident in Murray County. The woman’s son started calling her fiancé “dad” shortly after they met, and the fiancé planned to adopt the woman’s son so they could change the 7-year-old’s name on their wedding day.

The car accident cut short the adoption plans because both the fiancé and the son died, but in other situations a will can ensure that a fiancé’s wishes are honored in the event of an untimely death.

Fatal accidents are common throughout Georgia. Most young parents understand the importance of insurance, but a will can be just as important. The process of preparing a will gives young parents the opportunity to look at their financial situation and provide sensibly for the needs of children, family members, and charities.

Georgia already has a default estate plan in effect for those who do not make wills. However, in situations such as the Murray County accident, a person who dies before formally adopting a child cannot as effectively provide for the unrelated child unless that person has a will or some other entity established before they die.

Such arraignments can impact the distribution of insurance proceeds, family businesses and other assets that the decedent may want to pass down to a child who is not yet formally part of their family.

Source: Times Free Press, “3 lives lost,” Mariann Martin, 3/20/11