Protect your business and assets with a legal will
It's never pleasant for anyone to think of their own mortality, but writing a will is an important step in protecting the best interests of your loved ones and, if you are a business owner, your partners, employees and customers, as well. A will can clearly designate who should receive your assets, and how and when. Whereas writing a living will outlines the conditions under which you would or would not wish to be kept alive by artificial means, writing a last will and testament is important if you wish to communicate, in a legally binding way, who (or what, in the case of a donation to an organization) will inherit your property, money and other assets, including your business, and, if different from the beneficiary, your wishes regarding who should lead the business after your death.
A legal will can determine who will receive any property you own, no matter its value, and no matter whether it is residential or commercial real estate. Certain objects, like jewelry or other heirlooms, may have more sentimental value than real market value, but your business, including, if you own it, the property it stands on, is likely one of your most financially valuable assets. In the event that a deceased person does not leave a will, the recipients of all property are determined by a court, a process that could prove financially and emotionally costly and draining for family members and business acquaintances alike.
Consulting a Lawyer
In many cases, a lawyer is not required to write a will. There is software available that can help you complete your will for under $50. However, if your estate is particularly large and the distribution of its assets complicated, legal consultation can be very beneficial when it comes to writing a will. Getting a lawyer's help is also a good strategy if you are simply uncomfortable completing your will on your own, even with the help of a computer program.
In addition to providing detailed instructions regarding the distribution of your property, business and other assets, a will should appoint an executor to oversee the administration of that distribution.